¡Oye, chicken people!

ClareBroommaker's picture

Do chickens go bonkers or become unhealthy if kept in a noisy place? Specifically, very near an interstate as in this photo where the little tan dots within the triangular lot represent small trees being planted just now and the edge of the lot is about forty feet from the highway, or farther if you measure it on the slope leading up to the highway.

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Ken's picture

From what I've read, birds have an amazing ability to ignore sensory inputs that they have learned is non-threatening. I'm sure you've seen hawks sitting on posts RIGHT NEXT to a highway, with trucks zipping by, calmly watching for a foolish rodent to venture into the short grass. Apparently this is possible because the avian brain is wired to disregard non-essential information. Presuming there is something to this notion, I think the answer to your question is, "They will be fine, once they get used to it."

ClareBroommaker's picture

Oh, good point. I had not thought about how I'd actually seen birds habituate to all kinds of human caused weirdness.

We don't keep chickens now and have not really thought we wanted to, but even a little orchard can produce quite a bit of chicken feed, fruit with bad spots or fruit that falls. I was thinking maybe I could look for nearby people who keep chickens or would like to and offer a spot where they could set up a coop. This could be something I could offer someone who lives in an apartment or non-chicken friendly rental house. It would give me another set of eyes on the place (I won't be there everyday.) and a great way to use wormy peaches that won't even ripen before they rot. Then I could use the manure. Sounds cool to me, but I did not know if it was a stupid spot to try to put chickens.

Another idea, perhaps even more stupid, was to offer "chicken vacations" where someone could bring their birds for short stays, especially at times when I need to clean up fruits on the ground.

Oop, I just remembered I don't have water on the lot. I guess that would be a problem.

Will you be planting a hedge along the property line? Something that tops out at 10 feet or so (Hicksii Yews top out at between 10 and 15 feet depending on growing conditions) would provide a visual barrier and some sound barrier between anyone in your garden and the interstate.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Sweet autumn clematis grows densely on the fence, providing some of the same benefit. So it isn't a high barrier, but I don't want to block the morning sun.

mountainmoma's picture

The chickens will do great there. Likely you could do bunnies also for meat.