Any tips for converting free range chickens to cooped chickens??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rachel, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have 3 hens that currently free range in our entire backyard (we live in the city on a 1/5 acre lot.) My husband and I want to create a fenced in coop/run in a 20'X15' area of the yard, to stop them from eating all of our plants and hanging out (and pooping a lot) on our back porch. Two of the hens are pretty reasonable, but our RIR can be obnoxiously loud, for an hour or more at a time. My concern is that if I 'cage' them in that they will cry and crow and just generally be loud because they want to have access to the whole yard again. I feel very bad for the neighbors when this happens. Does anyone have any experience with this or any solutions to offer? We were thinking of gradually fencing off the yard to a smaller and smaller area until it was the size of their coop. Any ideas or anecdotes are appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Ear Plugs [​IMG]
     
  3. Jillylam

    Jillylam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2007
    Kingwood, NJ
    Rachel,
    They'll get used to it. My girls free ranged all day until hawk problems. Now they are in a run but get let out a few times a day. They got used to it. They're not loud until they see me coming to let them out. Then they flip out. Good luck.
     
  4. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *make their run as big as you can & watch close for attitude! My Miss Chook is a former feral. I kept picking her up and bringing her back to her "assigned" area. BUT I've only got ONE!! you'd kill yourself with 3!
     
  5. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

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    Jan 1, 2008
    WestCentralWisconsin
    I hang heads of lettuce and cabbage from a bungee cord and they jump and eat at that. I have heard people giving them toys. I hang a bell for them to ring. and then I put a ball in there but they dont play with it. You could try a good dust pile and maybe an obstacle course if you wre really ambitiouse.
     
  6. SillyChick

    SillyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2007
    I have the same problem too! I decided to only allow them outside every-other day, but they keep crying and whining!

    Yes, they will get used to it. Be sure that they are happy and comfortable inside(give them treats). Also build a run for them(a fenced outside area attached to the coop) so they can scratch the ground and dust bathe. Although it is fine for the chickens to live in the coop, you will also need to let them outside sometimes for them to get exercise, eat grass and play. Free ranging makes them healthy. You can let them free range for an hour every other day. Also, while letting them outside, it is better to watch over them to prevent them from eating your plants(I shoo mine away), going too far outside and getting attacked by predators.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Kaneke

    Kaneke Chillin' With My Peeps

    and watch out for them digging UNDER the coop and escaping !

    that's what my silver EE did -- she wanted OUT, even though I was keeping her cooped up so I could tell when/where she was laying

    well ... the free range roo helped dig .. from the outside ...

    now the poor White Rock is the lonely one inside the coop; I have a line on getting a friend for her, and I told the gal, get me one who is used to being cooped, not another who is happy free ranging !!! (since they will be coming from same place, I don't think quarantine is necessary ... I've had the White Rock and the EE less than a month, new one will come from same breeder)
     
  8. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
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    I bury some bricks about half way in the garden (I can still see the face, but bury them enough so they'll get bugs and worms on them) and dig them up every few days in the summer. Then the chickens get big juicy bugs to eat, even though they're cooped up. I typically do this with my babies until I let them out with the big kids at 12 weeks to free range.
     
  9. rachel

    rachel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I built a run that's 400-450 square feet (for 3 hens, it's ridiculous, I know) and to my surprise, they seem totally satisfied there. (knock on wood) It's been a couple weeks now and I was expecting a lot of noise, but it actually feels like it's more quiet. In the morning when they do make noise, they are in the back part of the yard rather than on our back doorstep. It's been great walking around the backyard and not having to take my shoes off to come back in.

    Jackie- That's a great idea about burying the bricks to give them critters to eat, I'm definitely going to do that. I saw another thread about raising cockroaches for treats, which gave me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it!
     
  10. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Missouri
    [​IMG]

    I thought about getting some worms or crickets from the pet shop once, but I just thought the crickets would get in my hair once I dumped the bag. Ew!
     

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