LOL @ Thunder...

My husband felt the same for years. It had something to do with his mother having 600 egg laying hens, and him getting the "fun" jobs- gathering the eggs and cleaning the chicken house! He NEVER wanted to see another chicken!

It took me about 10 years to convince him that it wouldn't kill him if I had a few birds. Now, he actually enjoys them. My permanent deep bedding system keeps the odor non-existent (REALLY), and there's none of that disgusting "dropping board" baloney, etc. He gets a kick out of watching the bantam hens with their chicks roaming around, and seeing how different some of them are.

We actually avoid free ranging (they do have a very large outdoor pen) most of the time, because that is when they can get to be a mess... getting into the calves grain feeders, pooping where you don't want it, etc.

But really, they are like almost any other livestock... if you give them enough room, they aren't any messier than anything else. Crowding them into a small pen... yep, they're a mess. But then, so are cows under the same circumstances.