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The Problem With Free-Range Chickens

Candi JohnsThe beauty of free-range chickens:

• The chickens graze freely on acres and acres of pasture, woods and fields.

• The eggs are wonderful.

• The chickens are eating all the ticks.

• There's no nasty, stinky, lifeless, fenced-in, chicken-yard full of sad, corn-fed chickens.

• There are few foods healthier than a truly free-range chicken, or a free-range chicken's egg.

Free-range chickens are great.

I am a huge fan of rree-range. If you don't know how to keep chickens without fences (also known as "The Redneck Way") go here to learn how to do it.

If you live with free-range chickens … you know there is a dark side to these wonderful, tick-eatin', free-rangin' critters.

Welcome to the Dark Side ….

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

Their grazing habits will not be limited to those acres of pasture, woods and fields. The attentive, free-range chickens will also graze your garden, pigpen, back porch, front porch, cow barn, machine shed, yard, driveway, garage and everywhere else you don't really want chickens. Ugh.

Here's the countdown to why I want to shoot my free-range chickens.

5. Poop – they poop everywhere. Oh, how I wish chickens could hold their poop. Just until they get back on the grass. There's chicken poop in my garage, on my porch, my deck, my cow barn, on the driveway … everywhere.

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

4. They nest in my flowers. This has been going on for years. (More on chickens in the flowers here.) There are bowl-shaped nests in my container garden. I even find eggs in them.

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

3. We have a little, young flock that has decided to move to the back porch. I have no idea why. There's no grass, nothing to eat, nothing to scratch or peck. They just stand around on my porch pooping and shedding feathers. These are also the chickens that like to be petted and cuddled and think they are cats, so I guess it makes sense.

Note to self: Don't turn chickens into cats unless you want to clean their poop and feathers off your porch. Groan.

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

2. I can't even go in my cow barn without securing the door behind me … It's a chicken ambush. There are some good cattle feed and molasses in there!

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

1. The No. 1 reason I want to shoot my free-range chickens is the garage. The chickens think the garage is the promised land. It houses pig food, deer corn, chicken starter, cat food and water. When the chickens make it into the garage it's like winning the lottery … they go insanely ravenous eating everything in sight … as quickly as possible … because they know I am coming ….

And I have a broom.

And I will slap them into next week if I get the opportunity.

Did I say I slap chickens with brooms? I would never do anything like that. Wink.

When the chickens hear the sound of the garage door going up they come running.

And I go for my broom.

Why I Want to Shoot My Free-Range Chickens

This one saw me coming.

Run, Chicken, Run!

To hear more stories, fun and craziness about free-range chickens, milking cows, raising stinky pigs, and homesteading life with four children, go here. Smiles are guaranteed!