I haven't gotten any birds yet, but I'm planning on getting some this coming spring (5 or so to start with) and would appreciate any input I can get.
I currently have a lean-to that used to be something of a small horse shed... I plan on eventually converting it to a chicken coop, but before that I plan on just building/getting a simple coop that I can put inside the lean-to, until it is ready.
I plan on free-ranging the birds during the day inside a long and narrow fenced area of about 50' x 200'. The coop will be at one end of the 200'. I can make this area more square... maybe include more trees? I thought this is already large enough?
I live on 3 acres next to some woods. The coop will be on the side towards the woods, and about 400' from a busy highway. The run will extend from the coop away from the highway 200'.
What kind of fence should I use? What height? I was thinking just chicken wire and some metal posts, and bury it about 6"? I do have access to a trencher so burying it should be easy.
I have no close neighbors, so that's not an issue, however I am somewhat concerned with the chickens getting out and getting on the highway...
I would like to keep them contained in their area as much as I reasonably can... but I'm thinking chicken wire and metal posts won't keep them in very well? I have heard that most chicken fences are more for keeping predators out, than chickens in... is this true? Do chickens roam less if there is a rooster? With the highway 400' (maybe 450') feet away, do I need to worry about the birds going that far?
Thanks for any and all input!