i agree with her too! My chickens are free range too and most of the time they like to roam around the woods about 50 yds away from thier yard and they always come back! i dont let them do that in the summer were more wild animals are out looking for food. So if you do that i suggest not letting them roam out of thier yard in the summerIn the winter our chickens will work their way to a stream 50 yds into the swamp than scratch their way along for a 100 yds down stream. They return at dusk via a logging road that comes into the back clearing of the property. When they are running late they hit the clearing and fly and run to the coop. Only once did they give me the slip that I could not locate them, but came strolling out of the woods at dusk. We are surrounded by miles of thick, thick woods and swamp. They also have ranged in among a large flock of wild turkeys who come by once or twice a wk. I think like alot of birds they may have that internal compass.
Establish their home by keeping them in the coop/pen for at least a week before letting them roam. If you can finish brooding them out there, that will definitely make them think so. If they can mingle there is a possibility they will defect. If each flock is a different breed telling them apart should be easy, if not consider banding. Let you neighbor know there is a new flock. A fence might have to be put up.so my "Flok" if you willconsist of 20 birds that I hatced out (2weeks ago Sunday) I have converted a barn stall into a coop for them with poultry netting up to the ceiling and a 16 X 16 run outside the door. The Stall is 9 X 12. I live on 5 acres that is fenced with a barb wire fence system. nothing that will keep them in. My Neighbor has some chickens not sure how many or what kind but I see them in his front yard and rarely in mine. Ive seen two chickens on my property since moving in. How do I get my chicks to establich in their coop so they will return to it at night? And should i be conecrned about his flock and mine mixing up (ie my birds defecting to his flock or visa versa. Should I lwt him know that I will have birds outside in a few weeks. Is there a preperation that needs to be made?