Free range vs cooped up

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by clsully, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. clsully

    clsully Hatching

    Jun 15, 2011
    What I wonder is how many folks in suburbia with backyard chickens keep them in the run and coop all the time, as opposed to allowing them out during the day and then having them 'cooped up' at night?
  2. gunnarmcc

    gunnarmcc Chirping

    Jun 10, 2011
    SSF, CA
    im relatively new to this but i keep my birds in their coop/run when i am gone and at night but i leave the door to the run open during the day when i am home and can get them back in the coop if i need to
  3. stilldeb

    stilldeb Songster

    May 28, 2010
    NW Kentucky
    Mine have a large run attached to their coop, but come out in the yard with supervision, due to hawks in the area.

    deb g
  4. kimntep

    kimntep Songster

    Dec 30, 2010
    Ocala, Florida
    Mine are always cooped up at night, when we aren't home, and until around 4 in the afternoon. They free range till they put themselves to bed, but one of us always goes out to check on everyone, make sure all is accounted for, and lock them up. They have plenty of yard area that is covered and attached to the coop so they can get in the coop out of weather if need be or dust, play, etc. outside. It is working great and I've had no predator problems since reinforcing after one coon attack that killed 2, but we live in a pretty rural area. In my case, I didn't let them free range till they were quite large, so I think they got used to their immediate area and I don't have to worry about them getting too far from home even tho we live on 57 acres. All 17 are usually within eyesight of the house.
  5. wenlo

    wenlo Chirping

    Feb 27, 2010
    Mine have the whole fenced in backyard which serves as their run its about 19'x30'. The four girls have a tiny coop 4'x5' so they must get out during the day; its worked nicely so far. We did spy a juvenille hawk one day, but he's not been back. That is my biggest concern because they don't have a covering, but I don't want to enclose them in a smaller space even if it is to keep them safe.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  6. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Mine are cooped up part of the time. Their run is covered, so we leave the door to the coop open 24/7 and they have access to the run whenever they want. On my days off and days when I won't be able to come home from work at lunch, the girls get free run of the back yard for the majority of the day. When I work, I usually leave them penned until I come home for lunch and then I let them out to roam the yard around noon. I would let them out all day every day, except my cross-beak hen doesn't eat enough when I do that (when I was home for a week a while ago and let the girls roam all day she dropped a lot of weight). And I'm not sure what I'll do this winter, since we do have a neighborhood hawk. I haven't seen him lately, but last winter he was sitting on our fence eying the chickens (who were safe in their run) one day when I came home for lunch.
  7. Heathero617

    Heathero617 Songster

    Mar 1, 2011
    Mine are allowed in their "yard" until night, then they are put up for the night. I"d love to allow them to freerange in the yard, but since my entire flock was taken out by a stray dog over the winter, we'll be having no more of that. I have found I become too attatched and have too much time and effort invested. I THINK I finally have the other preditor issue curbed, but i'll never feel 100% safe again after recent events.
  8. My chickens have an 8x10 run attached to the coop that they have access to all day, but they want out! I let them free range on a limited basis, usually in the afternoon or evening. I have lots of room for them to roam, but of course they want to hang out in my yard and gardens where I don't want them. They are pretty good for the most part, but if one decides the garden looks good, everyone else will follow. When it is really hot I like them to free range, because they can find a cool spot. I learned the hard way not to leave the pole barn open when DH discovered them all on his boat having a pooping party.
  9. Nonny

    Nonny Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Our run is roughly 6 metres x 2 metres (20ft x 6ft) for three chooks, and we let them roam in the yard during the day, and lock 'em up at night. I put them back in the run if I'm going out though, as my cat has been known to try his luck at hunting them and I don't trust him so I like to be within earshot if the girls sound the alarm. I may reconsider this if the yard starts to suffer from their scratching though.
  10. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    I have four, with a 24' sq ft coop and a 32 sq ft run. They are still pretty young, so they stay in the run or coop. Once they are older, larger and wiser, I might let them out into the yard and garden. My biggest worries there are ordinance(city requires the be kept in run, which cannot be less than 40' from a residence), and my garden. The coop and run both open up INTO my vegetable garden, and I don't want my girls digging up and eating everything. I plan on letting them roam during the late fall and winter, when they can turn up all the soil they want.

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