A lot of people I know will say they have thought about getting backyard birds. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we are an ‘animal’ family. So adding backyard birds did not seem like an extremely daunting thing for us.
What I tell people is, backyards birds can be as low maintenance and you want, if your willing to spend more money on set up. Here, where we live, unless you plan on selling your eggs, I probably spend an equal amount on their food as I would buying organic eggs. So, spending a ton up front didn’t make sense, I also knew the girls would want daily interaction.
So here is my love list….
- Having chicks/ducklings, watching them grow.
- The girls playing with them, learning more about animal care and the day to day responsibilities.
- Watching them. My favorite is when we clean and fill the duck pond. My girls like watching the chickens run and when they follow them.
- Ducks don’t scratch up the ground but pull up lots of grubs/bugs.
- Their noises.
- They eat almost all my scraps.
Here is my hate list….
- When we free ranged the chickens, they would come on the porch and poop, go in the trunks of cars and poop, go in the garage and….you guessed it, poop. (we just put them in a chicken tractor)
- Having to let them in and out morning and night. (hard to get away)
- Chickens tore apart all our garden beds, or turned them into dust baths.
- Cleaning the coop.
- Winter with birds.
If you search Pinterest you can see you can build a nearly predator proof run, and install automatic feeders, automatic waters, and automatic door. This makes daily maintance easy, and if your chickens are good about getting inside at dusk you could go away for a few nights. You will still have to clean the coop, and fill feeders and waterers every few days and collect eggs.
I like the chicken tractors because they will get fresh grass daily, but I still have to come put them in at night.
Keep in mind as well, lots of people will start small, just to try. It can be difficult to add birds to an established flock unless you let a hen hatch eggs. So I recommend lots of research. Not just about your set up but the breed of birds you plan to have. Some breeds are more aggressive than others. We have buff orpingtons, light sussex and our ducks are khaki campbells. Also, raising chicks is a lot of work, and messy.
I truly prefer the ducks. They don’t come on the porch, they don’t tear up my lawn, my duck is an excellent layer, and they are hardier so they don’t need as much attention in the winter. I like their eggs every way but fried, for some reason they seem rubbery to me.
If you like a neat yard, I would not recommend backyard birds. Even if they are contained they draw in flies, and you will have to have a ‘poop’ pile.
I hope this helps any one thinking of going into backyard birding.