I had to read that a few times before I could understand it but that all makes since now.
I am in zone 7A Central Va. Our winters are generally mild but can hang below freezing for weeks at a time.
Our summers are also mild but can climb above 90° for most of August.
I have approx. 1 acre that is enclosed by Premier 1 energized poultry netting.
My flock consists of 50 duel breed egg laying hens and a mated pair of watch geese.
This 1 acre is nestled within 7 heavily wooded acres that I will continue to clear to eventually add flocks of meat hens, geese, ducks and turkeys each all on their own enclosed 1 acre.
The hens free range at will and and put themselves to bed in an open access 10x40 hoop house situated on my compost pile.
My grandmother chuckles at me that I've provided such a fancy coop. She tells me that she would let her "yard birds" roost in the trees and would stroll around her yard every morning looking for eggs.
I asked her what she fed them and she chuckled again. "They ate what they ate" is about all that I could get out of her.
I do have the coop closed in sufficiently to protect against winter wind.
The geese do a wonderfully fantastic job of early alarms that get the hens huddled together quickly in the coop.
The other day Jake the Drake and Minnie the Moocher sounded off in a particular way and in a flash all of the hens where in the coop. 30 seconds later, as I stood there wondering what the heck was going on, I suddenly heard the hunting dogs.
The alarm must of had an inaudible difference because most of time, when they honk and flap, the hens don't even look up from pecking.
I plan on each yard containing its flock, a pair of watch geese (except the goose yard of course), a pair of barn cats, and small breed varmint dog.
As I expand, I will slowly begin to enclose all of the yards within a 6' tall no-climb fence.
Eventually, this entire area outside of the individual yards but within the perimeter fence area will be patrolled by large breed guard dogs.
My eventual goal is to employ a multi-layered defense against rodents all the way up to two legged predators.
This board has been a wealth of info so far and I appreciate everybodys patients.