Calling on urbanites - anyone free range the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Cluky, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Cluky

    Cluky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Chicago
    Hi just curious anyone is large cities have chickens and free range them in the back yard instead of having a run? how do you set up the back yard for this? how do you protect against cats? if anyone could post pics?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Hi there Cluky,

    I live in the burbs of Seattle and let my 4 chickens free range in the back yard. I do have a coop to lock them in at night. And a chainlink run (about 100sf, fully covered), if I need to keep them contained. But mostly they run the yard all day.
    Yard is fully fenced, 5 ft and 6 ft, all the way around. I've rarely had a chicken get over.( I suspect that they wiggled under) I have blocked all the possible gaps.
    And all my neighbors love my chickens. So when they have escaped, neighbors will guard them till they can get a hold of me. I have some garden fencing to protect plants.
    I have lots of animals around. Just found out there are coyotes eating neighbor's cats. Yikes!
    I have had no issues with the cats, mine or others. Most grown large fowl chickens can handle a cat.
    Also no problem with the resident possums. I coexisted with the resident raccoons for years, but things have changed. They are now the enemy. I have never seen a large hawk here, but they are in the valley next to me. And Bald Eagles frequently fly over, but have never shown an interest. I have lots of trees and shrubs as cover.

    Imp
     
  3. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live downtown, and have a coop and run. All the same, I pretty much always just let the chickens loose in the yard. The yard is fenced with mostly 6' wooden fence, but partially by shorter picket fencing. I went around to all the areas where there were gaps and stapled up chicken wire patches. I also made sure there was nowhere on the shorter fencing they could jump to and perch, so they wouldn't get out. Nowadays they are happy and familiar with their home, and I don't have to worry about escape attempts. They know where the food is [​IMG]
     
  4. Cluky

    Cluky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Chicago
    Do stray cats bother them at all? I have bantams and any time I free range them the darn cats just want to hunt.
     
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    There is the rare cat that will go after LF chickens. Bantams being smaller are at a greater risk. I have found that every new cat stalks the chickens at first, but quickly gives up. I would be very cautious with bantams till you know for sure.

    Imp- good luck
     
  6. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only have one bantam, and my rooster is pretty large. Although the neighbors have cats, and I have seen them walking the fence, I have yet to see one even try to face off with the birds.
     
  7. jsmith2952

    jsmith2952 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    I let my girls free range as well. My backyard is fully fenced (6 ft) and we've tried to block all gaps and to my knowledge, they've never tried to escape. I have a fully enclosed run (1/4" hardware cloth) that is about 40 sq ft. They have full time access to that from their henhouse so we can leave them all day or overnight if we need. As for protection--we have lots of shrubs and stuff they can hide under, a very protective dog who chases cats from the backyard, and their coop and run is surrounded by buried hardware cloth and double locked on every door. I've had some cats, raccoons, opossums, and skunks in the yard but luckily no casualties. As for cats though, I read that most domestic cats won't mess with chickens when they have easier pickings. Apparently even a raccoon will choose a dumpster over ripping open a coop.
     
  8. obeloinkment

    obeloinkment Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 3, 2013
    My Coop
    If my cat is any indication... you shouldn't have a problem. The chickens routinely face off with the cat and the cat always loses. If you have chicks, it is an entirely different story, and considering the havoc stray cats wreak on native birds, lizards and snakes, it's no bad thing to send them to freezer camp, too. Shoot, shovel, shutup.
     

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