Free Range Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Debby10, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Debby10

    Debby10 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Mt. Bethel
    In May I'm going to get my first chickens and I want to try to free range them. I'm getting a flock of 23 barred rock hens and 2 roosters. (The roosters, I was told, will warn the hens of danger and are more vigilant while the hens forage.) I wonder how far they might wander if they are free range. Will they go 100 yards? Or do they stay in a smaller area?

    Also I have just enough room for this flock in my 8 X 12 coop. Does having roosters in the flock make it more or less stressful for the birds if they are bordering on overcrowding. If all the chicks live will I be looking for someone who wants a few barred rocks? [​IMG]

    Thanks for your input. D
  2. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2008
    My neighbor's free range birds regularly disappear then sometimes come back - once with a whole bunch of chicks in tow. Mine are limited free range. They're out when I'm there. Otherwise, they wander off onto the neighbor's property, into the street, you name it.
  3. Debby10

    Debby10 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Mt. Bethel
    Quote:That doesn't sound all that hopeful! My road is about 900 feet from where the coop will be. I was hoping they wouldn't come 500 feet to my house and gardens. Now I'm wondering if they will stray into some real danger or be a nuisance to my neighbor. The nearest house is about 1500 feet away or more. That's pretty far. Hmmm.

  4. Granolamom

    Granolamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    When I first got my chickens, I was told that free-range flocks never wander where they can't see their coop. WROOOONG! Mine have increased their range to almost 100 yards. They now wander out of (my) sight, into my neighbor's pasture (who likes them, Thank Goodness), but they always return after a few hours, to "check in". My neighbor on the other side is not so tolerant, and didn't want the chooks frolicking in his yard, and so we built a fence to keep them on our side.
  5. ChickieKeeta

    ChickieKeeta C'mon C'mere Fluffa Feathers

    Feb 16, 2009
    Cumberland County NJ
    My flock stayed in my yard at first. When they crossed the street my neighbor complained. I just built a chicken tractor.
  6. Debby10

    Debby10 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Mt. Bethel
    Thanks Granolamom. Thats more like the diagnosis I was looking for. My veggie garden and some flower beds are about 250 to 300 feet from the coop. If they are fairly safe and well behaved, it sounds like the best solution might be to fence the garden.

  7. Debby10

    Debby10 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2009
    Mt. Bethel
    Quote:Kittygirl, how far away is the neighbor across the road?

  8. warmfuzzies

    warmfuzzies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boondocks, Colorado
    We are about a quarter mile from our nearest neighbor, so that is not a problem. But we live on the highway, so I was worried about that. The coop is about 100 ft from the road. On nice days, mine will roam FAR down into the feild, Like 200-300 yards, or even farther. But like they said, only for an hour or so, and then they are back. When it was green, they diddnt go nearly so far, as there was plenty to eat in the yard.

    They never go on the road. They will go out there pretty close to it, but I have only ever seen one on it, one time, when it was scared out there by something. I think having a long way to go in every direction makes the road unappealing for mine.

    my DH is a truck driver, and he said on the big highway, that always has a lot of trucks on it, there is a house with chickens. He goes by all the time, several times a day, and said they are always in the ditch eating, but he has never seen one in the road or hit.
    But I am sure it would be different if they diddnt have as much room.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I don't think mine ever go much further than 100 yards, and they stay away from the street. But there are some woods within in that distance, and they find lost of bugs there.

    Most of the time they hang around near my house. I did have to fence my garden.
  10. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    We allow our 4 EE hens and roo out of their run when we are home. Our house and coop are in the middle of a field and 1000 ft from the road on one side. The chickens go about 500 ft into the open field so far. On the other side where there is a wooded area, they also go about 500 feet away from the coop. They can't see their coop from the woods but they can easily see the house. I do get a bit worried bcause a hawk has been known to frequent the woods, but so far so good. Rooster does squawk when trouble shows.
    Unfortunately, the garden is well within the 500 foot range. I am still not sure what is goign to happen but I see Lowes has rabbit wire for sale. I may fence out the flower beds with simple fencing and see if that will keep them out. It's not that they don't have anywhere else to wander! I haven't cleaned the beds yet this spring because I didn't want to encourage the scratching in them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by