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Considering free range chickens...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Winsto1, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Winsto1

    Winsto1 Hatching

    Feb 8, 2012
    We live in a house on the edge of a small city, and I want to get chickens for eggs. I am wondering, however, what the ideal outdoor environment would be. We have an acre or so wooded lot adjoining one side of our property, as well as some fields behind our property. I'm wondering what would be the ideal place to build a coup, and how much area i should let them have to run around and forage on? The wooded lot is only about 100 feet wide and not connected to any larger forest. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated!

  2. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Songster

    Mar 26, 2009
    Is it fenced? I let mine "free range" on an acre that's fully fenced, I then lock them up in the coop at night? Your biggest concern should be predators, it's amazing how many critters like chickens for an easy snack. I would build a sturdy coop with a run, and then let them occasionally "free range". The key is too do your research first! Good luck.
  3. SouthernBYChickens

    SouthernBYChickens Chirping

    Dec 7, 2011
    I would give them as much space to "free range" as I could afford to fence in. Unless you are able to be out there the entire time you are letting them forage, then you better have them in a fence or a dog or another predator will have an easy catch. You'll also need to put the fence down in the ground a few inches so predators can't easily crawl under it. You should be able to get a 100 ft. roll of 2x4 6 feet tall dog wire for around $100. Throw in a couple of sturdy corner posts (concreted) and some t-posts for support and start from there. If you can afford more, then go bigger. It also depends on how many chickens you are planning on having. Enjoy!
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    If you want to invest a little money into it, and you don't already have a perimeter fence and a good dog inside it to guard your chickens while they free range, you might look into electric poultry net and just move your paddock throughout their range area or even enclose the entire area in the poultry netting. Easy to install, easy to move and supposedly will keep out large preds like bear, coyotes, etc.

    I know folks who keep their sheep in something similar and just move it around their yard and adjoining lot. It won't keep your chickens from getting snagged by an aerial pred but it should keep out most others.


    You can buy it at Amazon.com for much cheaper than this site but it is just an example of what is available.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  5. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Crowing

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Many people like having a covered run attached to the coop in case there are hawks around and let them free range a larger area when they have some supervision. As far as placement on your lot you may want to consider soil drainage so the run doesn't turn into too much or a muddy mess, availability of shade if your summers are warm and perhaps look for an area that is not too windy. Oh, it doesn't hurt if it is not too far away from the water spigot and if you have cold winters, then you may want to run an extension cord out to the coop to keep the water from freezing. Welcome to the forum and cograts on you choice to keep chickens.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  6. La Casa de Pollo

    La Casa de Pollo Crowing

    Nov 4, 2011
    Northern Utah
    Close enough that getting eggs and going to the coop in the winter is not a drag----but far enough that the potential noise, smell, flies---are not a problem when you are bbq-ing out back in the summer. I keep my coop/run about 50 feet from the back of my house, egg boxes facing the house. The noise has never been a problem (I have no roosters) and the smell has been fine, I use quite a bit of DE to help that out. It is a quick jog to go out in the winter but it is close enough that the path is not too long to shovel snow :)
  7. RebeccaWing

    RebeccaWing Hatching

    Feb 8, 2012
    I have 15 day-old chicks on order for this spring, and it sounds like you and I have identical properties! My plan is to have a secure coop (with no run) inside a fenced chicken pasture... probably about three quarters of an acre. I plan on using 4 foot chain link... and after reading here I'm considering burying some sort of wire fencing as well (???). My chicken pasture is quite wooded with lots of trees and brush to take cover in... though my white Delawares might be bright targets for the local raptors. The chickens will eventually share the space with Nigerian Dwarf goats and the GRAND plan includes livestock guardian dogs. In the mean time, to protect against predators, I plan on being outside A LOT. That's where my home schooled kids and I like to be anyhow. Plus, the chicken area is out my kitchen window... and if I am inside, that's where I am. If I do end up losing birds to predators then I'll be able to convince my darling husband of the need for a run. Best of luck with your chicken adventure!

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