One of the drawbacks of having free-ranging chickens is the need to find a way to keep them off your porch, since they can make quite a mess. Awhile back, I tried to solve this problem by covering the railings with the prickly plastic I wrote about earlier with regard to my geese. This didn’t work any better than it did with the geese. It did seem to keep them from perching on the railings for an extended period, but it actually made the problem worse. Instead of staying on the railings, they would immediately jump down onto the porch and roam around it, pooping everywhere instead of just around the edges!
Finally, I thought of a solution that seems to really work. I strung wire a few inches above the railings all around, even across the gates. The latter required installing those plastic gate handles that are used for electric fences, so I have to unfasten that whenever I go in or out. But it works!
On the front porch, I had been propping up a baby gate I found lying around that was missing the hardware to attach it, but it would always blow over in a strong wind or the cats would knock it over. So, using the one piece of hardware that remained, some wire, and a screw-in hook, I found a way to attach it securely so I can open and close it and it stays put. What an improvement in my quality of life!
The one flaw I found on my back porch setup was a gap between the railing and the house where the chickens could easily slip through. For now I’ve propped up a metal plate to block it, and that seems to work unless one of the cats pushes it out of the way. I realized the wires might make it hard for the cats to get onto the porch. So now I have to remember to leave the gates open at night and close them in the morning. Just another thing to add to my routine. I said the simple life wasn’t simple, didn’t I?
Read this editor’s letter about her new chickens and their lively personalities.
Backyard Chicken Tools
What tools do you need to raise and process meat chickens? Killing cones are humane, and promote a complete bleed, scalding tanks, plucking machines facilitate easy feather removal.
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Introducing the pets to the chickens has been a little more challenging than originally anticipated.