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Free Range/pen Suggestions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi! New to chickens here. I've spent weeks reading through the forums and searching, and have learned lots of great info. I was hoping I could get some input on my available land and what you think are the best options for me. We're planning to start a sustainable flock of dual purpose birds; we will keep two dozen hens and a couple roosters through the winters and let them hatch out several clutches of eggs through the summers. I'd like to completely free-range them, but have concerns about how far they'd wander--if they'd get into the street or our neighbors' property. Our only real neighbors live acroos the street (the land surrounding ours on our side of the street is currently unused woods and pasture, but the owners do come out to it for bonfires and to maintain it), and I don't want my birds to be a nuisance. Here's what I'm working with:

Two acres, front half is lawn, area behind the barn is woods with dense undergrowth (weeds, clover, wild flowers, poison ivy, blackberries, thistles, etc). Woods are to the right, the l-shaped property to the left and behind ours is pasture. Our woods go right up to our back property line. The three buildings on my property are, from front to back, house, garage, barn (which is actually a 1950s hen house with a concrete floor).


The barn. The left side houses our pigs and their yard is to the left of and out the back into the woods. In the right side we will build the chickens a place to sleep.


I'd like for the chickens to have as large an area as possible and be able to forage in the woods. These are behind and to the right side of the barn.




So what would you do with the space, given that:
1. I want them to forage and feed themselves as much as possible
2. I want them to have as big of an area as possible
3. I will be willing to accept the occasional loss from hawks or other predators
4. I don't want them to wander so far that they'd annoy the neighbors or cause an accident in the street

Will chickens really roam THAT far if they have awesome woods to play in? If so, is there a way I could discourage this without having to spend a ton of money fencing in 3/4 of an acre or more?

Lastly, if anyone knows a good way to do rotational pens with temporary fencing in an area with dense underbrush (and a stationary sleeping area), that would be great.

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer!
post #2 of 6

Hi There!!!!!  Sounds like you have a nice piece of property! Watch out for your beautiful grass.  the chickens love tasty grass!!!!  I must admit, I dont think they will go too far away from their sleeping space.  But if you are worried and want to contain them to certain areas... i just use U channel posts and green fencing se the image for reference.  It keeps my girls out of my garden and make me feel better knowing where they are / if they are safe. It has been our temporary solution for about 8 months.  its easy because it can be moved, it is fairly inexpensive, and can be taken down with out any hassle! There is also the option to do chicken tractors. 

 

Good luck! hope this was helpful

 

post #3 of 6

There is a house that has chickens on the main road going into my town. They kept them in a coop/run for about a month or 2, and now they are free range. I don't think she puts them up at night, that I've ever seen, but I could be wrong. Cars pass by at 60 mph, and I have never once seen her chickens anywhere near the road. About 20 feet away is the closest they've come.

 

Now woods with blackberries? You may never see them until the bushes are picked clean. :)

 

Beautiful property!

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning towards just fencing the front of their area for now, and waiting to see if they venture beyond the woods in the back, and dealing with it then if they do.
post #5 of 6

Weve got 13 ladies, just got into chickening.. on 3 acres, 1/2 that's lawn...they will stay on the property, ours don't go that far.. we let em out free ranging when home, 3-5 hrs not all day yet, we locked em up at night., they have an attached 10x20 run, 1/2 cloth all way around, top too..

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohogue View Post

Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning towards just fencing the front of their area for now, and waiting to see if they venture beyond the woods in the back, and dealing with it then if they do.

Just wondering how your situation is coming along. Did you decide to let them forage at will? I have my birds in a free range pen and let them out in the afternoon after most of the laying is done. We are on several acres but they never seem to go any further than about 100 yards from the house. 

 Are you finding it to be similar? 

An ever fluctuating flock of Black Copper Marans, Cream Legbars, Bielefelders, Lavendar Ameraucanas, Silver Sussex and various mixes of same
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An ever fluctuating flock of Black Copper Marans, Cream Legbars, Bielefelders, Lavendar Ameraucanas, Silver Sussex and various mixes of same
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