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Is it cruel to have chickens if they can't free range?

post #1 of 110
Thread Starter 

I'm going to have a nice chicken coop and a nice sized run. I am only allowed 6 chickens.
They won't be allowed to free range often, if at all.
So even if I have a large run (I'm thinking 10 ft x 6ft) will they still be happy?

My chicken coop is now inhabited by chickens!

 

RIP June the chicken 4/23/13

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My chicken coop is now inhabited by chickens!

 

RIP June the chicken 4/23/13

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post #2 of 110

Mine don't free range. They have a nice coop and a very large run. They only use 1/4 of it and seem very happy smile

The littlest chicken wrangler in the Northeast
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The littlest chicken wrangler in the Northeast
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post #3 of 110

They'll be fine. If you are really concerned about their happiness give some treats once in a while.
You could put in some garden scraps or straw/hay to keep them from getting bored. They love to scratch
around in it.

post #4 of 110

They adapt.  Happy?  I don't know.  Contented?  To our judge of it?  Yes.

The run needs to be larger than most folks think.  It needs to be as large as possible, especially since that will be the extent and limits of their "world".  Sure, it is in effect trading the small cage of the industry for what is essentially a larger cage, but still.  Chickens can indeed adapt and be very contented in a Coop-run environment.  Is it the same existence as a free ranged chicken?  No.  It is what it is.  I'd not be concerned.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #5 of 110

We don't free range unless supervised, and that is not as often as I would like.  The seem happy in the large run we have.  I give them scratch and treats everyday.  It is cold today and the crazies have decided to stay in the coop.... Definately never a dull moment with chickens..... Enjoy your flock!

Kathy
Their, there.  They're not the same!
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Kathy
Their, there.  They're not the same!
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post #6 of 110

I think as long as they have plenty of run around room and you keep fresh greens in as much as you can, cuz they will eat the crap out of the grass and all real quick if you do not have a mobile run... If its going to be stationary, they will be happy if they have something to keep them busy... Wood branches for perching, hay/straw to dig thru, fresh veggies, greens, to chow on... get some live crickets here and there and toss them in... HEEHEEE, thats always amusing to watch....

At the very least, wipe the poop off your feet before getting in the car.

"Member of the Derperella Club-- We're just all goin' round' the rooster, here!"
Good night sweet Trousers, The Derp Club will miss you.
Treasure the love you recieve above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. Og Mandino
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At the very least, wipe the poop off your feet before getting in the car.

"Member of the Derperella Club-- We're just all goin' round' the rooster, here!"
Good night sweet Trousers, The Derp Club will miss you.
Treasure the love you recieve above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. Og Mandino
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post #7 of 110

Crickets are a hoot.  Or earlier this fall we had flying ants coming out of the ground.  We allowed free ranging for that event!!

Kathy
Their, there.  They're not the same!
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Kathy
Their, there.  They're not the same!
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post #8 of 110

I also only free range when I'm home and can supervise.  We have too many hawks so when I hear the crows going nuts I run out to lock up the birds.  They're almost always already in the run (but that wouldn't stop a hawK) so I close them up.  I had 19 birds in a 10 x 20 run but I felt it was too crowded.  I sold some birds and now have a dozen in there.  It's easier to clean & gives them more space.  If they don't get out for the day I usually try to provide an unexpected treat for them....except I think it's expected because they're always rushing me at the door! lol I think I my chickens have the good life.

Swedish Flower Hens
 

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Swedish Flower Hens
 

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post #9 of 110

I would definitely suggest making sure your run can fit YOU into it. What would be the use of keeping pets which you cannot be with?

Many folks here also install cup holders inside their coop/runs, and hang a clean folding chair in there.  I have a little milking 3legged stool to sit with them, and sometimes bring my knitting.  Its nice in there.  My youngest son can be found sitting with them, reading to them, when we can't find him anywhere else.

Yes, I'd make sure your run is easy for you to walk in, maneuver your poopscooper in, clean in.  Even if its a tractor.

In this video, my hen jumped into my lap for a visit.  Neither of us are very pretty, but its a good example of what sometimes happens when chicken's personalities come to light:
http://www.youtube.com/user/6chickensinstcharles

I hope your setup affords you space and time to relax and enjoy your birdies.

Here's a picture of my current hoop and coop:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/25976_winter_coop_from_front_porch_view.jpg

After 3 years of trying many different ways, this is how it is today.  I'm sure it will continue to morph. I hope yours STARTS better than mine did! thumbsup

Mom and Dad of 3 boys 14,11,9; live in city in-town by public library and school; Silkie rooster, Silkie hen, EE hen, RoseComb Bantam and 8 of their mixed breed offspring!  And a bunny!
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Mom and Dad of 3 boys 14,11,9; live in city in-town by public library and school; Silkie rooster, Silkie hen, EE hen, RoseComb Bantam and 8 of their mixed breed offspring!  And a bunny!
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post #10 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desirai 

I'm going to have a nice chicken coop and a nice sized run. I am only allowed 6 chickens.
They won't be allowed to free range often, if at all.
So even if I have a large run (I'm thinking 10 ft x 6ft) will they still be happy?


Have you considered bantams instead of full sized chickens?  They are funny pets and don't require as much space, and can fly, so their run can have different levels of perches to bop around on.

These are eggs from our bantams.  A little bit smaller, but they're great!  Probably healthier to eat a teensy bit less of indulgences like fresh eggs, anyways:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/25976_05162010577.jpg

For perspective, this pullet is 3 months old, she won't get much bigger than this, but her eggs would be sold in the store as Medium:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/25976_chick_kitty_on_my_shoulder.jpg

Bantams have lots of beautiful feather patterns, and come in all shapes and colors:
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/thumbs/25976_p120111_1553.jpg

Plus, fancy bantams might ease the neighbors' transition into living in close quarters with chickens known as "pets".  They're special.

Mom and Dad of 3 boys 14,11,9; live in city in-town by public library and school; Silkie rooster, Silkie hen, EE hen, RoseComb Bantam and 8 of their mixed breed offspring!  And a bunny!
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Mom and Dad of 3 boys 14,11,9; live in city in-town by public library and school; Silkie rooster, Silkie hen, EE hen, RoseComb Bantam and 8 of their mixed breed offspring!  And a bunny!
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