Day- Range Q's for Layers

emi love

Jul 29, 2012
Petaluma, CA
We are looking to Day-Range pasture hardy layers (30?) on the 1 acre of pasture that is included in our lease(closest to the house and road) of the open 15 acre cow pasture. My husband is under the impression that it is not necessary to have fencing at all b/c he believes that the birds won't go very far from the coop; that we can still rotate them to graze over new pasture by moving their coop to a new grazing radius.

I'm not entirely sure that the birds will really stay that close to home and am leaning towards moveable electric fencing and coops-- mainly b/c of predators and that our neighbors house, our veg garden and a major road are right up against three sides of the acre... I am having a hard time logically convincing my husband that this is the route to go.

Is he right that we really don't have anything to worry about by just letting them loose? What would you do for Day-ranging given this info? If my thoughts are right on leaning towards the fencing, any concrete arguments I can point him at?
They will range over more than an acre on their own. I'm on ten, and mine range a couple hundred yards in each direction from their coop. They seem reluctant to venture into the woods on one side, but plunge in head first on the other -- don't understand that one, but the side where they will go into the woods is closer to the coop. You definitely want to fence them if you value your garden and landscaping. They'll decimate your garden and look cute doing it. I'm not sure the major road is an issue...I have neighbors that are right by the road, and they have a dozen chickens or so that range and I've never seen one squished on the road.

Depending on the number of hawks and eagles you have, you might want to look at a couple of tractors (portable pens) that you could move around your pasture, rather than fencing it all, which won't protect them from raptors.

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