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Free ranging new chickens

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

This is a slightly strange question but one that I could definitely use some information on. 

We were given a flock of 12 hens and 1 rooster this month when our neighbors moved to Colorado. We have a little over 4 acres and live about 75 yards down the street from the neighbor we got the chickens from. They lived on 2.5 acres and their pen was on the far side of the property away from our house. They let the chickens free range and I would occasionally see them at the house directly across the street from the previous owners of the chickens but never down on my end of the road. 

I say all this because I am wondering if there is any chance or worry that the chickens would "return home" to their previous coop/run if I let them out to free range?

I have an adequate run and coop for the size flock I have. They have access to all the feed and water they want in the run and the hens are already laying in the boxes I built in my coop. I just want them to be able to free range some during the day and don't want to worry about them going to the wrong house. 

On the other hand, I am considering not letting them range like that at all and just using a larger chicken tractor that my son can move with my garden tractor and putting them in the coop at night. This is because we have lost chickens in the past to coyotes and there is now a hawk that lives somewhere in close proximity to my property. Also, I'm pretty sure that my dogs would eat the chickens if one chose to hop the fence and get into the main yard......

My original thought was easy free range but now I'm thinking half in the tractor other half in run and swap them out every day or so and doing it that way. Ideas? Thoughts? Am I over complicating this chicken thing?

post #2 of 5
Yes they will return to their "home" even if you offer a larger better area. If you can close up neighbors old coop and lock them in your coop for a period of time (this will help but the birds may still try to return.)
If you choose to do the tractor, it will keep them from returning, but be sure your run is covered or they will be easy pickings for that hawk
post #3 of 5

Might be a good idea to keep them in their new coop and run at your place for a maybe a month,

to 'home' them to their new location, before allowing them to range if you decide to do so.

 

All your concerns are all valid, thinking about all the possibilities and consequences is not 'over' thinking IMO.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #4 of 5

^^^^ agree with above, keep them in the run/coop for several weeks

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
I plan on at least a month. That'll give me time to build a tractor and get that process going. I'm a busy daddy right now with chicks being born and waiting for my own baby to be born! Thankfully I've got older kids to help manage the flock right now!


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