Chicken Behavior?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RouttyChicks, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. RouttyChicks

    RouttyChicks In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2013
    Carrollton, Va.
    I am new to this and don't even have the coop built or chicks yet. I do have a concern that when i do will they destroy my nicely landscaped back yard? I know i don't ever have to let them out of the pen but i would occassionally like to let them roam the yard when we are home. I would feel guilty leaving them cooped up in the pen their entire lives, i just don't think that is fair to them as they will be as much a pet as a source of eggs and eventually meat.

    My other silly question is when it is time to put them back in the coop how do you do that (assuming they are not friendly enough to be caught). Will they learn to come when called? When i rattle the food pan? I know they are not dogs but i have never had chickens before so these are concerns of mine.

    Also i was thinking about starting with either two RIR's or two Plymouth Rocks? I would only ever have a max of four birds but i don't want to be over whelmed so i figured i'd start with just two. What is the consensus on what would be a good starter breed for a beginner that would be a good dual purpose chicken?

    Thank you all for your patience and advise as i begin this venture.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It isn't silly because there are no silly questions.

    The chickens will go in their coop by themselves at dusk.
    Once they get used to you giving them scratch grains they'll follow you for them. They can also be clicker trained.

    4 probably won't tear your landscaping up much if only out for an hour or two a day.
    They primarily scratch the soil looking for bugs and seeds, but sometimes that means kicking all the mulch out of your beds.

    Always start with the most chickens you think you can house or ultimately will have.
    Adding chickens later is hard. They have to be quarantined for a few weeks, and they'll probably fight because they don't know each other. Birds raised together establish a pecking order and form lifelong bonds. Newcomers aren't usually welcome.
  3. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    I've come up with a solution where we share the garden. I have some black plastic mesh about knee high that snakes its way through my garden. I have quite deep beds so they get the back half amongst the shrubs and I get the front half so they don't scratch up my seedlings or mulch.

    They will go under the fence if they find a gap but for some bizarre reason have never tried to fly over. Not sure if that would apply to every breed but it keeps my silkie, frizzles and faverolles happily contained but out of their run. Also keeps those weeds I never get to at the back under control :)
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013

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