Can free-range chickens learn to stay in a coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by whoami, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. whoami

    whoami Hatching

    Mar 26, 2008
    We have 7 chickens. They are basically free-range and roost in our barn at night. Our neighbor has started to complain that the chickens are going to his house every day (it's basically next to my barn) and tearing up his landscape. And we want them to roost outside of the barn, so we are going to build them a coop and a yard for them to live in full time.

    Will they learn to no longer be "free range"? Or will they be miserable and have issues?

    They are just about a year old.
  2. ThePigeonKid

    ThePigeonKid Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Ohio - Chickens 3yrs
    They will learn. Give lots of treats and they will get over it. [​IMG]
  3. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Songster

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Read my post about the hen with her feathers pecked on this forum, from just a few moments ago. I have the same issue.

    In fact, my girls and the roo are also wanderers, and spend more time in my neighbor's barn than on our 20 acres. Luckily for us, the barn is for sale, so no one has been on the property to complain. Lucky maybe...we have to pray that someone moves in who likes chickens!

    I am certainly not an expert, but our chickens are about the same age, so I am thinking yours may have a similar reaction. You could be the lucky one and maybe they will adapt better than mine did, but at the very least try to set up your coop so that it is interesting and give them things to play with. Mine were definitely not miserable, even though it gets very cold here. I think they are just picking on (pecking at) Red Momma because they are bored. Maybe I need to get them a cable hook-up!
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    You'll likely face building a large run for them to go outside for exercise and scratching about. Chickens who enjoy ranging will travel 1/4 mile in their pursuits of areas to scratch and peck. If one has close neighbors, free ranging often cannot be done. Being a good neighbor is always important and let's face it, chickens dig holes, they scratch up plants, they poop everywhere they go. Not everyone enjoys having this "bonus" on their property from someone else's chickens.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  5. ThePigeonKid

    ThePigeonKid Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Ohio - Chickens 3yrs
  6. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Songster

    My neighbor went through the same thing with her free range flock. Her flock went from total freedom during the daytime to a 16 x 16 pen attached to their coop. The chickens got used to it, but boy were the vocal for many weeks on end about how much they hated it initially. I could hear them from across the street everyday. They are fine now.

    Best wishes!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    They'll be fine.
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I free ranged my flock for years until I got tired of chicken poo on the porch. They now have a large (48x16) run and I never had any problems with them.

    But even if they are miserable and pout a little, it's just like kids. Sometimes you have to do what's best for them, like it or not, and they'll just deal.
  9. dreamer5577

    dreamer5577 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    I put some pellets and keep water by a coop and they eventually figured out that that's where they are supposed to go, where they live. Now though, they don't like to stray too far from that general area! HAH
  10. twisted troy

    twisted troy In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2010
    I spent my saturday chasing wild chickens to start a new flock. A guy that bought some chickens and they just went wild on his property. Anyway I was able to catch 8 or them one being a rooster and locked them in my coop. It's tuesday and they are starting to settle down when I enter the coop, I plan to keep them in for a week or so and then they'll be free range. Lots of available foods and a variety of treats helps condition them.

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