If you are looking for a devoted helper in your backyard garden, the humble chicken would like to apply for the job.
We all know that there is no egg fresher than that which was laid by one of your own chickens. However, the benefits of welcoming a few chickens to roost on your turf do not stop at enhancing your egg supply.
Chickens in the garden are relatively simple to care for and they can also make affectionate outdoor pets.
In exchange for basic food, shelter and loving attention, these multitasking creatures will eagerly contribute to your home gardening needs in these five earth-friendly ways.
1. Soil Aeration
Before you spend valuable time turning and tilling the soil for your next gardening project, consider buying a few chickens to act as pollution-free rototillers.
Chickens have a natural instinct to scratch and dig their terrain. If you have chosen a new garden bed location, simply put chicken feed over the desired surface and the chickens will go to work.
Their scratching and pecking will loosen and break up the soil for proper aeration as well as perform the task of mixing the top layer of soil with compost or mulch.
The result will be a prepared garden bed with healthy soil for your plants. Do this each spring before planting seeds.
2. Efficient Garbage Disposal
Chickens play a starring role in the cycle of sustainable gardening. First, the chickens must eat.
Chickens are omnivores, which means that they will feast on just about any vegetable, fruit and protein source. Your chickens will savor food scraps and unwanted leftovers from your kitchen.
This prevents some food from ever truly going to waste. Rather than filling your local landfill, offer meat and produce scraps as part of your chickens’ diet.
Be sure to supplement scraps with chicken feed to ensure the required balanced nutrition for maintaining optimal health and producing the best eggs.
Remember that what goes in must come out. Feeding your chickens well will supply your garden with plenty of fertilizer.
This is the second phase of the cycle. Mixing the garden soil with compost that is rich in nutrients that include chicken manure promotes growth and production in your plants.
Once vegetables and fruits are harvested, the unused peelings, cores, rinds and less than appealing specimens are fed to the chickens and then returned once again to the soil as fertilizer.
3. Organic Fertilizer
Chicken manure is very rich in nitrogen. When mixed with other components such as leaves, pine needles, straw and grass clippings, the resulting compost adds organic nutrients to the soil.
By composting the manure with grass clippings from the summer lawn mower bags and with autumn’s fallen leaves, this is much more economical than purchasing multiple large bags of prepackaged organic fertilizer from the garden center.
Composting throughout the year, introducing a layer of winter’s compost in the spring and limiting the chickens from excreting directly onto the garden during the growing season will eliminate the small risk of pathogens that can invade garden crops.
You will also prevent an over-saturation of nitrogen into the soil, which can be damaging to some plants and decrease the yield of harvested produce.
4. Weeding Without Chemicals
Weeds threaten the health of neighboring plants by robbing them of nutrients. There are several ways in which to deal with stubborn, unsightly weeds that invade garden beds every summer.
One is to spray the ground every spring with harsh chemical herbicides. A greener method is to spend hours in the scorching summer sun on your hands and knees handpicking each offender from the garden.
This is not an enjoyable task for most unless one is a chicken. While preparing your garden bed each spring, chickens will happily pluck early growing weeds and devour weed seeds that are waiting to sprout as the season progresses.
5. Insect Patrol
In addition to feed, weeds and kitchen scraps, chicken love insects. They are not picky; any bug is a dining delicacy in their eyes.
Chickens will consume all of those pests that encroach on your vegetable plants and fruit trees every season, including grubs, slugs, beetles, and aphids.
They will eat insects of any life cycle from the egg and larval stages to nymphs and adults. This means that even those annoying garden flies will be reduced.
In the autumn months, allow the chickens to consume any fallen, diseased or bug-infested fruits from orchard trees, such as peaches or apples, and taller berry bushes.
This will eradicate those bugs and prevent them from reproducing to invade the following year.
A chicken’s insect snack habit also removes ticks from your property, which will dramatically reduce the risk to you and your pets of contracting Lyme disease, erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other tick-borne illnesses.
During the growing season, your garden beds should be fenced to prevent chickens in the garden from eating the plant seeds or taking first dibs at the tomato harvest.
Portable pens that will keep chickens contained while allowing them to peck at the soil beneath them may be placed for a short period in the garden each day if desired.
Otherwise, chickens that are free to move about the rest of the yard will continue to provide the ongoing benefit of transforming food scraps into valuable fertilizer and reducing the insect population.
Each spring, give your chicken free run of the garden beds to prepare them for planting. After the last harvest, your chickens will happily perform the end of season garden cleanup tasks for you.
Tips to Keeping Chickens Happy and Productive
Like all workers, chickens must be kept happy in order to stay healthy and active and encourage regular egg laying.
By keeping these points in mind, your chickens in the garden will provide several years of service and garden companionship:
- Construct a sturdy, roomy shelter for your chickens. Even free-ranging chickens will still require a secure place to retreat on rainy days, chilly nights or when laying eggs.
- Whether you opt to house your chickens securely overnight within the shelter or within a penned yard surrounding this structure, be sure that the enclosure cannot be penetrated and invaded by raccoons or other predators. Predators are the number one threat to a chicken’s longevity.
- Avoid overcrowding your chickens. Each chicken requires a minimum of five square feet of yard space. Too many chickens housed in a small area leads to fighting and pecking at one another, feather-pulling, depression and angst-driven egg breaking.
- Build one nesting box for each chicken inside the shelter. Hens prefer to lay eggs in private and do not consider sharing a box as an option. Over time, you may find that a chicken prefers one particular nesting box over the others.
- Provide an area with dirt. Chickens enjoy their own notion of a spa treatment that is typically called a dust bath. Chickens will lie contently in the dirt and fluff it into their feathers. This act repels down mites and other parasites.
- Chickens thrive on variety in their diets. Provide them with plenty of options that include kitchen scraps, feed, seeds, grains, cracked corn, mealworms, and leafy greens.
- Provide plenty of straw during the cooler months and rainy seasons. This not only helps them to stay warm and dry, but it provides material for scratching in. It also serves as a welcoming environment for certain bugs and earthworms that chickens love to snack on.
- Never allow your chickens to become bored. Always provide feed and other scratching promoters. Change things up by relocating them to new areas of the property. Spark their natural curiosity by hanging up unusual food scraps that are not a regular component of their diet and that they will have to explore and work at a bit in order to eat away at it.
- Chickens appreciate affection and loving words. Take the time each day to provide them with attention. Children who have gentle dispositions will be ideal candidates for this task. Raising and caring for chickens will also teach children about the responsibilities of pet ownership.
The rewards of keeping chickens in the garden include organic composting, fertilizing and pest control, abundant crops of homegrown vegetables, herbs and fruits and a steady supply of fresh eggs.
When you purchase eggs from a local supermarket, you have no idea how long they have been sitting in the dairy case or whether or not the chickens that produced those eggs were cared for in an ethical manner.
On the other hand, when your children run to the hen house to collect the eggs each day, you know with certainty that the eggs were laid within the last 24 hours and that your chickens were raised in a caring, pesticide-free environment and fed a nutritious, antibiotic-free and hormone-free diet.
The prospect of making a hearty omelet stuffed with zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes from the garden for lunch is sounding better and better, all made possible with the help of your feathered garden friends.
Click here to learn how to make your very own chicken feeder for less than $5!
Meredyth Sawyer says
I may have answered my own question. Please reply to tell me if I’m on the right track. Regarding having Chickens to eat bugs but having to block them from plants and trees, so they don’t dig them up, I’ve been reading about ‘tractors’ or ‘chool domes’. If you make a small one of these & make sure you have mesh on the bottom, so they can’t dig too far (and to protect from foxes), this may be the answer. They can’t spread the mulch too far and can’t dig out all your compost down to the roots of the tree but should still be able to peck at the bugs between the strong, square mesh.
I think you’re right, you’ve pretty much figured out how to protect your plants and still let the chickens do what they do best.
Meredyth Sawyer says
I’ve looked at a lot of internet sites to find out how to let chickens eat the bugs around my fruit trees (like codling moth larvae) without them digging up the roots. One lady solved the problem by laying bits of flat concrete around the trees but that make watering a bit harder and more importantly, how can the chickens get to the grubs? Is there a solution, so you can have both the chickens eating pests and not digging up the roots or is it one or the other? My daughter got me the chooks, just so they could free range in my garden for pest control and for dropping their manure on the garden. At the moment the garden is fenced off, so they can’t get at it. Also, chook manure burns some plants, like blueberries, so you can’t let them go everywhere. Hope there’s an answer to these problems.
Meredyth Sawyer says
P.S. They’re not much good for keeping the weeds down either. They are picky about what they eat.
Ronnell Storie says
Chickens will quit laying when they molt (shed their old feathers and grow new ones).
It is common for them to slow down or stop during the winter time. Adding light to coops due to the shorter days is 1 way many try.
I hatch chicks in early spring and late fall to try and cover these gaps. Depending on the breed it will be 4 to 8 moths from hatching to egg laying.
I rotate my chickens. After 3 years I get rid of the hens, eat or sell. I use different colored leg bands to know how old they are.
joann kroes says
I need a question answered on how to winter over the bushes I have planted that I made cuttings and rooted. I have 200 or more in pots. roots are established. I live by racine,wi. will snow cover be enough, or do I need to do more?? thanks!
Frankie Stollenwerk says
We have 2 astrolups they are the sweetest chickens and lay 1 egg each a day one is brown and the other is much lighter in color..the lighter colored egg has recently been elongated and corrugated if you will or wrinkled.. and sometimes soft We can’t figure out whats going on .Any ideas. They both eat the same feed.
I think somebody else posted that some people feed chickens oyster shells to improve egg shell hardness. Did I read that right. It’s in one of the comments here that I just approved.
When I eat an egg I save and dry out the eggshell. When I have several that are dry, I put them in a food processor and pulverize them and then add this to the chicken’s food. Another example of how effortless chickens are!
Meredyth Sawyer says
Powdered Chicken Shells can also be used instead of Diatomaceous Earth, to deter and eventually kill, shelled bugs and beetles.
Thanks for your reply, and yes we do feed them oyster shells but they are still laying weird shaped eggs and some soft shells hmmm.?
It sounds like your chickens need extra calcium in their diets.
we give them oyster shells they have all the best food and they both eat the same, but only one lays a weird egg..
Frankie Stollenwerk says
My 2 austrolups have not been laying, Is that normal for the winter? This is our first winter since they started to lay..
I’m not the guy to answer this question but hopefully somebody who knows more about chickens will. I’m the plant guy!
Frankie Stollenwerk says
My 2 austrolupes have not laid eggs in 2 months. Is it because of the cold? should I put a heat lite in there coop? or is this normal
Meredyth Sawyer says
I read that soft eggs are not fully developed and the chicken whol lays them is sick.
Kim E Andersen says
All is great until they find the broccoli ripe or just turning ripe tomatoes how about the hilling you did on the potatoes that gets all undone or all the silks ate off your corn.they love kohlrabi leaves. Don’t get me wrong I love chickens in the garden when I need them for bugs but when the day is done they are locked out again. as for the weeding they do well lets just say I have not seen it.. I do love the spring when I start the tiller the come running for the bugs and worms. In the fall they do a great job of cleaning up.. I do love my girls and boys.
I don’t believe that chickens will eat ticks. I have had a huge variety of poultry over a few decades and the only thing that will eat ticks are guinea hens. They are wonderful protector alarms as they can make quite a racket. Anyone that shouldn’t be in the back yard we knew. I had 4 or 5 for years and NEVER had ticks in my yard. After they all died and I didn’t replace them, I have had allot of ticks. Chickens don’t do much for controlling ticks.
do I need to have a rooster, can I have just the chickens? and how much does it cost for a chicken, and where do I find good healthy ones?
You do not need a rooster. It just depends on if you want to eat fertilized eggs or not. If you do decide to get some chickens I don’t recommend having more then one rooster. They are very territorial. You can order your chickens from different companies online depending on the research you do on those companies or in our case this year we were able to buy Cornish hens (feeding chickens) from a tractor supply store. Another good source are farmers in the community, it all depends on where you live. We bought both our feeding chicks and layers as baby chicks from our local feed store last year. They cost between $1.50 to $2.50 per chick depending again on the type of chicken you are getting and how many. I highly recommend raising chickens for food or for eggs. It’s nice to know where your food is coming from and less hands touching it in the process. 🙂 Hope that helps.
Kenneth Forrester says
No rooster needed.
No you don’t need a rooster. And it depends on where you buy them.
If you want to raise. Baby. Chickens from your own eggs you will neEd a rooster so the eggs will hatch A chicken if you just want your eggs for eating you want need a rooster. Some hen. Like to set on eggs to hAtch bAby chickens
I live in a wooded lot and learned from experience that I cannot free-range my birds. Too many predators(Fox,raccoon, neighbor dogs). I ended up building a chicken tractor which is an 8×12 foot pen on 2 wheels. I lift up the one end and move them to fresh new grass every day. My experience with nest boxes is that they like to lay the eggs in the same box. I have 6-10 chickens at a time and they all lay in the same box even though I have a couple of nest boxes. I feed them low quality produce from the garden, table scraps, scratch grains, finely crushed egg shells and egg layer pellets.
Chickens have been used for centuries for their many abilities, but, sometimes its necessary to remove them from the garden for a short while, as they tend to eat what you don’t want them to. Fencing in sertain areas works for this reason, the term grazing works well here as they can be put in grassy/weedy areas to use this area for use on a later garden spot…laying hens need to be given scratch grains and laying pellets to contribute to their productivity.
I used to have 4 acres and grow veg on about an acre. We had a coop with 25 Chickens. These are some of the things I learned.
1. They will peck small seedlings so keep them away from any small plants, once they get above a few inches they are not interested.
2. They will eat ALL your kitchen waste. We were feeding them ‘chicken scratch’ from the farm store in the first year then found out we were just making them lazy. When we stopped feeding them, they went in search of food and bugs etc. We did still give the kitchen scraps. You do need to feed them in winter though if you are in cold climes.
3. This is the best tip EVER! Don’t use any straw etc on the floor. Design the coop so you can put 8 inches to a foot of soil on the floor, It totally eliminates the smell and the need to clean it out. After a year that soil is AWESOME garden fertilizer. The soil also supports bugs and things in the winter.
That’s all I can think of right now.
When cleaning out my chicken coop, I put the shavings in the compost. It is starting to smell really bad. I know it’s from the chickens. Any ideas on how to fix the smell?
I think the answer is more greens and browns into the compost pile. That will give the chicken manure something to break down and will quickly neutralize the entire pile.
Robert E Behlen says
If you lived in a chicken raising community as I do, we have Tyson chicken plant here, you would really get a dose of the smell. Very unpleasant.
Gloria Jordan says
I had a self proclaimed free range greyleg hen who I could never catch to put back in the coop. She laid all her eggs out in the yard by the hog pen and I could never find it until a wind blew our oak over into the hog lot. She had laid her eggs in the hollow of the tree and I found over 3 dozen in that pyramid of eggs. Not one was busted and I made several angel food cakes out of them!
joan Rolle says
I AM MOVEING TO A ISLAND I LIVE IN THE BAHAMAS I HAVE A SMALL VEGATABLE GARDEN I LIKE YOUR ADVICE ABOUT CHICKENS IN THE GARDEN THANKS JOAN ROLLE
Hi there. Chickens do have lots of benefits, I agree, but please be sure you are up to the responsibility of keeping them. Do you have what it takes to cull your flock when they are no longer productive layers? Here is a good discussion from over at NWEdible.com: http://www.nwedible.com/2013/05/you-absolutely-should-not-get-backyard-chickens.html
jaswinder singh mavi says
can i replace chicken with Turkey. Will they do the same job or have some difference.
Turkeys are not big chickens. They are much wilder. I’ve had turkeys perch in 30 t0 40 foot trees. Neighbors tell me turkeys will drown in a heavy thunderstorm. Turkeys will travel and need to watched more than chickens. Chickens are fun, while turkeys take work. Personally, I’d rather raise geese than turkeys. Geese are better than other bird for pulling grass weeds and are used locally to keep strawberry patches clean in the spring. Geese can take on rather large predators.
Fred W. says
We just had a local law passed allowing five chickens! No roosters. We back up to the BLM land so lots of skunks, racoons, foxes, bears, mountain lions etc. I haven’t got any yet a couple neighbors are pretty happy with theirs. My friend swears by em and I have seen his in action! They are hard workers for sure. Great eggs if you feed em a variety.
A little food grade diatomacious earth added to their favorite dust bath spot will insure no mites or lice. Also lightly dust the inside of the chicken house with DE.
Thanks samnjoeysgrama , I will try the DE!!
Mike even though I can’t have chickens or donkeys the material is educational and fun. The focus on plants is not hampered by the inclusion. Thanks for all you are doing.
Thanks Sam, we appreciate you support. Duston, Amber and I.
Chicken Newby says
We have 4 chickens that free range during the day and pen up at night. They are almost at the age of laying eggs. Will they lay eggs in the bushes during the day or will they go back to the pen and lay eggs in the nesting box?
You may wish to keep them in for a while until they get the right idea. Chickens can and will lay eggs in any convenient place – and they define ‘convenient’ a bit differently than you or I. The middle of our wild blackberry patch was a favorite spot for a few of ours some years back, before we built a large pen for the girls. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
Once they establish a habitual laying spot, they will return to it by preference. If that spot is your nesting box(es), great. If not, you’ll have to confine the bird(s) if you want the eggs.
Good luck with your girls!
I’ve had chickens for decades. If they are in the coop at night most of them went back in to lay their eggs. But I had a few game hens that would find their own spot. One I thought was a goner and hadn’t flown back into the pen and coop for the night. I assumed she was a long gone since we live on the fringe of the woods and there are several predators. It was late summer. Well about 3 weeks later out in the yard in mid October she marched with 13 baby chicks in tow. I got her and the chicks corralled back into the coop, but it was her job to care for them.
Charline Jolly says
My grandmother raised hundreds of chickens, and she always offered crushed oyster shell. It helps to build strong egg shells.
Straight chicken manure is too “hot” for most plants. Be sure and compost it for a few weeks. Cover with a layer of soil to reduce the smell.
I have had chickens for years as well as guineas and ducks. I wanted to free range chickens but the fox and coons are too bad and I loose them too fast. Plus they dont want to eat and scratch where I want them too!! My girls are friendly and also want to visit neighbors so I had to make a “playpen”. It IS NOT predator proof. It is made out of PVC pipe…fast easy realatiavely inexpensive and then covered with plastic netting/fencing…like you’d put around a garden to keep a dog out. However, you can make it small or large and then just drag it where you want them to feed. Its only about 18 inches high with a PVC door that I bungee closed. The bottom is ocmpletely uncovered. This is not an overnight contianment and IS NOT predator proof but if I were home enough to let them run then I can certainly do this and it keeps them out of my flower beds and from roaming to neighbors.
Chickens do scratch and till and always where I JUST MULCHED OR PLANTED FLOWERS!!! They can be a nusance in that respect Throwing mulch out of the bed and into the yard so you have to take the good with the bad.
IN MY EXPERIENCE…THEY DO NOT EAT THE GRUBS!!!! NOBODY wants those nasty things.
Another Suggestion: I went to home depo in the plumbing department. They have rolls of this rubber mat that is supposed to go under showers. It is expensive at like $5 a linear foot on a 6 foot roll. But you can negotiate cheaper rates on remnants. Smaller, overlapped pieces work fine. I put that in my coup and then just lift the sections and drag them out when dirty into the garden…give a shake then lay in the sun. It will not shake off if its damp and wet. Once it dries in the sun a rake or a leaf sweeper knocks everything off and youre good to go…if you are real anal soap and a pressure washer will make it spotless. I lay the mats back down and then put a nice coat of sawdust or a bag of mulch works great for bedding instead of straw, and you can usually negotiate a 50% discout for torn bags of mulch. Then when you dump it in flower beds you are mulching and fertilizing at the same time!!!! The mat makes it easy to drag it to the tree or plant you want to cover. I even installed gromets on mine and a little rope to drag it with!!! If its real heavy, i use the riding mower.
I have several chickens and have raised them for a few years now and mine love grubs and stink bugs. I have some really fun looking chickens who follow me everywhere I go and they love when I till up the garden. I do have to pen them up when the garden starts to produce if I want anything out of it.
I agree, you can’t beat chickens for pest control, we haven’t had a spider or mouse since chickens began scratching and patrolling the outside of our house. We have learned that by feeding them through the kitchen window, they don’t stand on the porch waiting for us in the morning so their little fertilizer gifts are now left in the garden under the window and not on the porch.
Ours roost in the trees at night, share a common nest box, and are always up working before we are…………(we do have to fence the chickens out of the strawberries and tomatoes before they begin to turn red)
Charline Jolly says
Raccoons climb trees! So can fox! Roosting in the trees is not a good icea.
We had a Pine Marten get into our coop. Vile creatures that kill for fun.
I was wondering if you know of a way to prevent free range chickens from digging in areas you do not want them to such as flower beds and mulched areas?
Joanna Moran says
To Carl: I’m afraid there’s no way of keeping them out of areas like flower or vegetable beds. They love scratching and looking for titbits in the soil and on your plants. You’ll have to fence out the chicks until after harvest. Then they can come in and feed and re-fertilize the beds for the next season.
I’ve had chickens for years- I let mine free each morning and they’re nestled in the coop on their perches every night before full dark. Since I let my dogs run our 1 acre yard they mark it and I haven’t seen a skunk, raccoon, coyote or coy-dog in years. Had a fox chase my rooster last year but the 4 dogs in fast pursuit prevented a successful hunt on her part and she’s not been back. Since we’re in VT they don’t like the snow and so I keep them in a pen in winter – mostly so I can keep the area shoveled for their use. Biggest things I’ve learned: #1 Chickens are susceptible to illness if you give them a drafty coop. No drafts in cold weather = no sick chickens. #2 Roosters HELP. Mine keeps his girls in or near the yard, runs cover for them when predators (mostly Hawks & Eagles) show up, calls them to eat when I throw corn/scraps out for them and I swear we get more eggs with a rooster around than we did without. #3 – Chickens absolutely need grit and a source of calcium, grit to digest food better and calcium for strong egg shells. Finally, hand feeding is fun… and no, an occasional peck really doesn’t hurt.
Just moved to the country this week and am so looking forward to gardening and raising chickens. Great little article on chickens. I had no idea some chickens are more friendly than others and really do make nice pets. (outdoors of course 🙂
Art Sulenski says
There are so many advantages to having chickens. They are natural composters, pile your materials wherever you want such as the chickens run or in the fall right on the garden beds, they will keep turning the piles allowing for fast breakdown and even supply extra manure for the garden. Fermenting their feed (look on the BYC forum on how to) will change their intestinal bacterial to good bacteria and problem pathogens. Also fermenting their feed adds lots of moisture requiring the chickens to drink less and making the proteins in the feed more available. Also another good source of chicken info is Harvey Ussery’s site, http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Home.html
We’ve found most of the above to be true. Our chickens kind of mob me when I take them scraps from the kitchen. They love to be outside and do a great job on weeds. However we have several boxes for laying eggs and they usually pick only 2 or sometimes 3 to lay their eggs in. We have 12 chickens laying and usually find as many as 6 eggs in one box. Be sure to keep plenty of clean shavings or straw in each box as this gives you unbroken and clean eggs.
Please….also remember the miracles of the lowly earth worm too.
Many are the award winning veges at the country fairs thanks to earth worm poop.
Good chicken feed too.
Charline Jolly says
Chickens also keep the fly population down around horses. They scratch around and gobble up the larvae.
Just dont let your chickens sleep in the same part of the barn as the horses. Chickens carry lice, which will go onto the horses..AND humans when they are in contact with the horses…I know this from experience..and even when “experts” say no..YES people can catch animal lice!!!! Been there done that. I bought a couple horses who were stabled with chickens and my daughter and I caught lice from the horses!!
Ray Hoover says
Fantastic article. Thinking about fencing off my Black Bamboo grove and putting chickens in to help with weed control and all the other benefits. Thanks a lot for the information.
How do you keep the chickens from eating your tomatoes/
Robin Fenn says
There are only 2 ways to protect tomatoer from chickens 1 is to pen up the chickens. 2 is to pen up the tomatoes so the chichens cant get to them.
Usually it easyer to pen the chickens up.
If your looking for a plant based supplement go to robinfenn dot vemma dot com check it out or send me a message
gord day says
nature’s answer to monsanto. at least their(chickens) by products are useful.
Jamie Reinking says
In general, how much area(sq.ft.) do you need to provide per chicken? How tall of fencing to keep them contained to a given area? And are they too loud for neighbors assuming you don’t have a rooster? Overall I definitely want some after reading this article! Thanks for the interesting info. Your hard work at providing good content does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Harold in Maryland says
We have a 5 X 8 ft coop for 12 chickens, and a fenced chicken run that is 8 X 16 ft. On most days the chickens are allowed to free range outside of that. I agree that having a rooster is noisier, but we have gotten used to it. Depends on you and your neighbors whether a rooster is a nuisance. You may like to check out http://www.backyardchickens.com.
Charline Jolly says
They can be quite noisy. When they lay an egg, they announce the feat with a surprisingly loud “singing” When they spot a hawk, they make a strident shrill warning noise.