free range or not?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by dan10, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. dan10

    dan10 In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2011
    I live a little too near a road (not a very busy road) and I have foxes and dogs around. how can I keep my chickens close to the coop?[​IMG]

  2. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Songster

    Oct 4, 2011
    athens, wv
    sounds like you need a run for them.
  3. Little One

    Little One Chirping

    Oct 9, 2011
    SE Virginia
    They won't stay close unless they're fenced in.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Perimeter fencing, or electronetting that is easy to move, are both starting options. A perimeter fence with a good dog ranging in it may help with keep chickens in your yard and predators out. The electronetting will keep them contained while still providing fresh ranging options as you move it....and it is supposed to deter even black bears.

    Either way, fences are your best insurance. There really is no way to keep chickens close to the coop unless you just free range right before they coop up for the night.

  5. eggdd

    eggdd Songster

    Jul 12, 2011
    well, let's define "near".

    they will likely stay in the area of the coop no matter what - - that is their home. some birds prefer to roost in the trees, but even in that case, it's typically near the coop. they're not going to run away. i have the exact opposite issue - - i WANT the chickens to stray further from the coop. they simply won't. well, not far enough for my liking. i'd prefer to see them utilizing ALL available areas. and that simply is not the case.

    all of that said, we, again, need to define "near". if you literally live right next to a busy street - - there's obviously a posed danger. a hundred yards away? the danger is reduced. two hundred? reduced even more. etc. etc.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  6. toysmom

    toysmom In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2011
    Quote:When I had only 3 chickens they stayed pretty close to their coop when I let them free range. Now I have 19 chickens and they are all over the place when they free range, which is almost everyday.
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Yep....for the most part, chickens like to flock together. But in a larger flock they have different groups that will hang out together and then some hens get distracted by good foraging conditions and will wander far from the flock....a roo has a much harder time keeping hens close when there are many in the flock. Birds that free range every day will get more adventurous as time goes by and you will find them simply everywhere.

    Also? Hens who are in a quiet, peaceful environment~no barking and moving dogs next door, no loud or steady traffic, no screaming and playing kids, etc.~will often range further from the coop. They have had no experiences that would keep them from doing so. My free range flock roamed the whole acre and sometimes oozed through the fences into the pastures beyond on any given day.

  8. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Mine stay together also but even at that never more than 80 yards from the coop. The hens all follow Bob, the rooster, and he just doesn't stray very far. Now I don't have a clue what they would do with the rooster to lead. Maybe they would be all over the place.[​IMG]
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have only LF of the RIR, wyandotte etc, and they stay within 150 feet of their coop; I have heard some breeds are good wanderers and cover a greater distance. Some breeds tolerate being cooped up and other breeds do not.

    Fencing is very helpful and has many purposes therefore comes in a lot of choices to suit your purpose. Fencing is an extensive subject. Sometimes fencing is to keep animals in, sometimes it's to keep a predator out. Electric fencing works only if the animal is trained to understand the ZAP factor; otherwise the uninitated will run right thru it. OFten electric netting is used inside of a more substantial fencing to subdivide areas. Fox are clever and fast; a grab 'n go sort. Dogs are similar and can be kept out with the same protection as you would use for a fox.

    Covered run. If you want the absolute best protection, build a covered run; these can be built flimsy or like Fort Knox and in between, whatever suits your needs. THe better the protection, the more expensive the materials.

    I lost another chicken yesterday to a coyote, 10 feet from the house. Of course the chicken had failed to go to the coop for the night and was easy pickings. So I put up a 4 foot woven wire fence around that chicken area to keep out the coyote and to guide the coyote on his way. THere is a trail across our property used by the deer and coyote that passes very near this coop and our house. The fence will keep him on the trail. No more Grab 'n Go breakfast for the coyotes.

    Maybe a 4 foot fence is an option for you. Chickens can fly over it, but it will keep the canines out.


  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I tend to agree with Beekissed. My flock breaks into subgroups. Some stick fairly close to the coop and some range 400 feet away or more. Under different conditions, those would probably go further.

    The only solution to keeping them where you want them is fencing. Many dogs and coyotes can easily jump over a 4 foot fence. It may deter them but it will not stop them if they really want to get over it. Foxes can climb right up the side of a wire fence. From what little I know of your circumstances, an electric fence sounds like a real good option. Maybe a run would suit your purposes, but they would soon strip it of any vegetation. It depends on why you want them out ranging.

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