This is NOT what I intended when I said a few weeks ago that my husband and I were looking to get chickens. We have been working on coop plans, breeds of chickens, what we want to do with them, free range or kept in coop, etc. I've had experience with Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Plymouth Rock. As I said before, my grandmother had chickens, and had grown up having them. She knew a lot about them and had a really lovely coop for them. Armed with the knowledge she gave me, I have been reading posts in the various sections of BYC as well, learning some new ones from you lovely people. So today, I was over helping my friend with some projects around her house. She has a flock of 6 pullet leghorns. Cute little buggers. Her neighbor moved and had 10 Rhode Island Reds that he let free range in the day, and locked up in the coop at night. Knowing that there's loose dogs, they couldn't be out all the time. Originally the guy had 15 of them. 5 got it from dogs and coyotes. So the neighbor moved and couldn't take the chickens. So he just let them out to run wild. Nothing like wild chickens roaming the area, right? Well my friend noticed the flock dwindle to 5, then 3. One morning she came out to feed hers and there were two left, standing outside the coop door asking for asylum. Feeling bad, she put them in. Of course these full grown chickens bully the little pullets. She couldn't keep them and had to either rehome them or let them back loose. She was really unhappy for it and somehow talked my husband into taking them home. I have no coop. No coop. I have a very large wire dog kennel I put them in tonite while I do some quick calculating and figuring out what the heck to do here. If these chickens free ranged before, what was done to teach them to stay in my yard and not wander to the neighbors homes?? All of my neighbors have chickens. What's going to keep them from wandering over there? Is there some method in feeding that I can do to teach them "stay here"? Until I get a coop made they are going to have to sleep in the dog kennel at night. Here's the next thing I would like to understand ..... I put them in there with their watering thing and a pan of feed. For comfort I threw in a flake a coastal horse hay. I figure that's nicer footing than the plain plastic. The one chicken meandered, pecking at the food, water, and grass. The other pecked the grass a bit and then comfied herself right in and laid down. She began pecking at the grass and putting it over her back ... any idea WHY? I thought maybe cuz she was cold but I guarantee she's not near as exposed to the elements as she was previously. My husband is sitting here with his ruler plotting out the coop, how much stuff we will need, etc. So .... any thoughts? I'd feel bad having to take these girls to animal control considering what they've been through. I feel even worse with them in the dog kennel - even if it's a huge kennel.