Free-Range on 1 Wooded Acre (with neighbors?)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by St1ckyBum, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. St1ckyBum

    St1ckyBum Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 2, 2014
    Hello all...looking for newby help!

    I am planning to get my first flock in the spring...chickens are already picked out and coop is being designed! I really want to raise my chickens as organically as possible and ideally as "free" as possible...but let me tell you my setup:

    I live on one acre on a hill surrounded on 3 sides by woods (and yes there are trees on my lot). The fourth side has a neighborhood road at the bottom of the hill (ie very low traffic but usually speedy drivers). There is a house across the street as well and a pond behind their house.

    Can I free range or will they cross the proverbial road? Its on the opposite side of where their coop will be.
    Will they get lost in the woods? Woodline is very close to their coop.
    Another point: There are a lot of birds of prey (hawks, owls...not to mention coons and coyotes and foxes) on the property.

    I plan on a fairly large coop with an enclosed run and would probably allow free range to half my fenced garden...but I am wondering about letting them roam the rest of the yard.

    Geez..After typing all that my yard sounds like a death trap for chickens! But I also dont want to be too overprotective :cd

    Thoughts?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Make so you have a very sturdy coop in over-sized run possibly with a little electrified wire to stop mammals from probing. Consider electrified poultry netting that can readily be moved from place to place in yard allowing ground to rest after heavy foraging. To help control losses. also consider limiting periods of free-range activity to when you are present. I have several flocks with one restricted to a yard similar in size to yours. Flock in yard can sustain itself through reproduction. The quality foraging areas on your property will help limit crossing the road. Keep flock size small and if possible include a rooster as it can provide some protection from hawks. Use standard size breeds.

    In the end, picture of you landscape can provide ideas on how to tweak it for keeping chickens home and safe. Dog might also be very helpful.

    You can also approach your desired healthy / organic goals by using a varied assortment of grains in addition to feeds and free-range forage to keep birds in good condition.

    I have learned to be flexible.
     
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