Can't free range my chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by slunurse, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. slunurse

    slunurse New Egg

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    Jan 30, 2015
    I am not able to free range my chickens (I don't think). I have a prefabricated coop and my husband extended the chicken run another 6 feet to give the chickens more room to move around. I'm a little worried that they won't be able to forage for bugs etc and get bored. What types of "activities" can I give them to do? My back yard is fenced but only with a 4 foot iron fence...not good enough to keep them in my yard...or is it? The county I live in says I can have chickens. My neighborhood association technically says no but are in the process of changing that. Therefore, I have to keep them under wraps a little bit. Can anyone help me with this problem? How can I give these chickens things to do that satisfy their curiosity and instincts?
     
  2. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Atlanta, Georgia
    We're in a similar situation regarding the county and the HOA. County yes...HOA...no.

    We let ours out for a few hours a day with supervision, and we do have a 6 ft fence around the yard. If you have them trained (with treats) it's pretty easy to call them back if they venture too far. Mine could clear the fence if they wanted too, but they haven't even thought about trying. It's too good on THIS side of the fence! [​IMG]

    To keep them occupied, we string up a head of cabbage maybe once a week. Get an eye bolt screw with some cord (we use paracord). Put the screw into the stem of the cabbage and hang it up. We get a good 1.5 days of entertainment out of one head (with 5 hens). When they're done, they'll be a very tiny nub of stem left...everything else is gone.
     
  3. slunurse

    slunurse New Egg

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    Jan 30, 2015
    Thank you for your input. I'm afraid if they DO leave the yard, someone might rat me out and ruin it all for me. Most neighbors are aware I'm doing this and the thought of free fresh eggs is enough to keep them quiet but you just never know! So when I move them outside in a week or so, I hear I should keep them confined to the inside of the coop so they know that's "home". Does anyone have any instructions for me on this?
     
  4. bdjh

    bdjh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2013
    Winnipeg
    I'd keep them in the run for a couple of weeks....after that, I doubt they'd roam TOO far. Ours will roam around the yard, up to 100 feet or so of the coop.......overhead birds usually scare them back towards the coop before too long.

    But a 4 foot fence will definitely NOT keep them in. If you have AWESOME neighbors, then it might not matter, because they'll come home at night no matter where they go (unless they get eaten), but if you can't count on that, they'll need to stay in the run unless you're outside with them.

    Activities for chickens usually revolve around food. bugs are like crack for chickens, but we've found they seem to enjoy things hanging in the air with string......heads of lettuce, halved pumpkins, apples, etc.
     

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