Have you been thinking about building a little backyard coop and getting a few chickens but your neighbors or friends say they’re too loud, they stink, or will generally ruin the neighborhood for some reason? Well fear not, because here are the top three chicken myths I’ve heard in my 15 years as a chicken hobbyist and why they are complete hooey.
Chickens smell bad
No they don’t. At least not if you tend your chicken yard well. Chickens themselves don’t smell like much of anything. I don’t know if it’s because they are birds or what, but they don’t. What people are referring to here is chicken manure and yes, it does smell if it piles up. However, there are a couple ways to avoid this:
1. Have a dirt floor in your coop
If your chickens have adequate space to range during the day (and they should), they will just poop on the ground and you’ll never know the difference (unlike, say, dogs). Where the manure can accumulate is your coop (where the chickens sleep). Chickens digest food 24 hours a day and likewise poop around the clock. So, you will notice that their manure can get really heavy where they sleep. However, if you have a dirt floor in your coop, the manure just bio-degrades and there is almost no smell at all. However, there is a better use for all that black gold. Which brings me to #2…
2. Collect the manure and use it
That’s what I do. Chicken manure is a prized fertilizer, so why let it go to waste? Simply nail some boards under where they sleep, let the manure collect, and rake it into a tub once a week or so to compost. You will smell the manure when you first rake it up, but trust me, it is not a big deal and you can’t smell it even a few feet away. Your neighbors certainly won’t.
Chickens are loud
When people say this, they really mean roosters are loud. And they are, very. Fun fact: Roosters don’t just crow at the break of dawn. They crow around the clock. It’s maddening.
Which is why we don’t have any. Nope, we banned roosters from our flock years ago and it was the best thing we ever did.
A flock of hens do talk all day long, it’s true, but they mostly mumble to their feet and each other. They will cackle a little when they lay an egg, but just for a few minutes. In fact, a happy clucking flock can be quite soothing. They are certainly much quieter than a barking dog, and every neighborhood has at least one of those.
So just have hens and problem solved. This, of course, leads to the next myth.
You must have a rooster to have eggs
Uh uh. Think about it – the female of every species makes eggs. The question isn’t whether there will be eggs, it’s whether they will be fertilized. So, if you don’t have a rooster, you won’t be able to hatch your own chicks, but that is overrated as well, and there are more reliable ways to get chicks.
We haven’t had a rooster in over a decade and we collect eggs – from happy hens mind you – every single day.
Get some chickens
If you want yard chickens but any of these objections has been holding you back, take heart.
They are myths.