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Can our chickens run loose? And need a book recommendation.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mamichi, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. mamichi

    mamichi In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2008
    Hi all, I am OVERWHELMED with all the info/opinions out there! I thought instead of trying to read everything (which I've been doing), that I would just post my questions and hope that someone has some good advice.

    My family lives near Tampa, Florida and we want to have a few hens (2 or 3). We live on 2 acres, with the majority of it being fenced in. I think my original idea was to just have the chickens run loose during the day and have a secure coop for them to roost in at night. I am a stay-at-home mom and spend a good portion of the days at home with our kids. After looking for a coop design though, and reading around, maybe that is not such a good idea? Anyone raise chickens like this here in the states? I say "in the states" b/c it seems that in Mexico everyone has their chickens running around loose. (I lived there for 2 years)

    Also, anyone have a book recommendation for someone just beginning to raise chickens? I realize good info is here on this site and other websites, but I like to have a book at my disposal and not be glued to my computer.

    TIA everyone!

    [​IMG] Margaret
  2. Kitchenella

    Kitchenella In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2008
    Beitar Illit, Israel
    20 yrs ago when I had my first experience with chickens I got a book from the library called "Raising Chickens Right". It was all I needed and a fun book to read. Try googling it. Ithink they have a downloadable edition but I'd recommend getting a hard copy.

    Have fun,

    Peggy (who is rediscovering these dumb but loveable critters)
  3. Fudgie

    Fudgie Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?

    Suggestion is to go to the library and look through the chicken raising books they have there then decide what helps you best...then order it!!
  4. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    Running loose is always an option...as long as you have the room. Just be aware that you could loose some to hawks or neighbor animals. The eggs will be more farm like if you let them forage and most of the breeds can fend for themselves fairly easy. I keep mine penned but am controling the breeding and live in town. Best of luck!
  5. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Lots of folks let their chickens Free-range (run loose) mine included... I have one hen who INSISTS on laying her egg in the garage - every day there is an egg right there. I swear if I left the door open she'd lay it in the kitchen! [​IMG]
  6. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Best book I've run across is Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. It's only about $10 and will answer questions you didn't even know to ask!

    Here's a link to about 75 books on chickens that can be bought through Amazon: http://astore.amazon.com/countchick-20

    in Texas
  7. ashyannehand

    ashyannehand Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Wade, Mississippi
    Fist off - [​IMG]

    Second - My hubby, kids and I have about two acres and this is what we did. Our back yard is completly fenced in but I had my hubby fence in about a 1/3 of it for my chickens. I have 10 and they have plently of room to roam and eat all the little treats that God provids. I also have a very simple coop made of just a tin roof and wire sides and a dirt floor. They have poles to roost on and do very well. I am in South Mississippi so it does not get very cold. Thsi works very well for us.

    Also - you think you might only want two or three but trust me they are addictive. You will want more and since chickens are very social, they would like more company too. I plan on adding at least 20 more to my little company in the spring.

    Read up and look here for a lot of great info. I did not get a book, I just spent a lot of time on the internet and here to get the info I need and use. [​IMG]

    Good luck!
  8. consdrs

    consdrs Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    Quote:That is a very good book! very informative.
    As for running loose... mine did. I have only 1/4 acre in town. fully fenced yard and we would let them out only when we were around. we have a few predators, raccoons, opossums, hawks, dogs. Problem with letting them loose is, they soon learn where the treats come from. and unless you don't mind chicken poop all over your patio... I would suggest a run. they dig, a lot! they poop even more! I would like to control where they do both. Most ppl are afraid of their chickens getting killed from something digging into the run. I am afraid my chickens are gonna dig out!!
  9. mamichi

    mamichi In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2008
    Thanks all, for the suggestions on the books.

    Teach97- what do you mean when you say the eggs will be more "farm like"?

    ashyannehand- When you say you have a third of your yard fenced in, how high are you talking? I mean, is it fenced in with only 4 walls, or does it also have the top covered?

    consdrs- My husband also thinks the poop might be a problem if we let them loose. We will have to give it a lot of thought.

    Would love to hear more opinions.

    thanks [​IMG]
  10. Dewberry

    Dewberry Hatching

    Nov 1, 2008
    I'm new here too and we are thinking the same things. I bought the book Chickens in Your Backyard from Amazon.com and I like it. It's clear and easy to understand and entertaining to read. I had the same thoughts about letting the chickens out during the day and putting them up at night. I have an acre that is not fenced but the only thing near me is a horse farm. The only daytime predators I'm really worried about are dogs and hawks. I'm hoping to reduce the hawk issue by getting BIG chickens as a BYC member suggested and by having a rooster to help protect the girls.

    I can imagine that chickens are addictive because I have parrots and they are addictive. The price of parrots keeps me in check but chickens are cheap so I'm gonna have to REALLY try to have some restraint.

    I'm in Southeast Louisiana so it doesn't get too cold here either but I'm still obsessing over the coop design. I do want a small run with the coop just so I don't have to let them out at zero dark thirty every morning. The poop I'm not really worried about. I'm already well acquainted with bird poop.

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