The first and most pressing question that quickly emerges when you do research on chicken keeping is how best to house and, to use a horse metaphor, to corral them. This is a concern as far as I can see because it is important not only to the quality of life of the chickens but of the people.
One main difference between chickens and horses is that chickens can conduct bad things like salmonella and chicken poop is much “hotter” than horse manure. On the one hand, keeping chickens completely confined is not the best for them and makes for more intensive clean up. On the other hand, letting them roam completely free means that the droppings are more spread out but the chickens would be everywhere. I am not sure how my OCD will be with chickens. This is probably my biggest question.
Another thing I have learned that surprised me is that chickens do not really range that far. Chickens are imprinted on their humans and they love them. They want to be with you! Apparently many new chicken keepers start out giving the chickens free run of their yards and the chickens take over the porch or deck where they are willing to roost on anything that works just to be close to their people.
I had already decided that I was not going to let them in the yard or keep them near the house because I have a great shed near the horse barn; but this confirmed my thinking on the matter. However much I come to like or enjoy my chickens, I certainly do not want them to be that close as companions!
It is good to know that if I leave a chicken gate open, they won’t go as far as the horses would…