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Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sherrihargrove, Mar 15, 2015.
about how far do they roam from home when allowed out?
It depends on an awful lot of variables - how much they have to eat and to interest them near the coop, if you have any natural barriers or obstacles around the free-ranging area, how brave and inquisitive individual birds are...
Some people reckon that they don't go too far - some say not out of sight of the coop, but I found that not to be the case with my flock. At first when I let them free range in a 1000m² back garden they stayed within a very small area, but as they became more confident they started to venture further afield - MUCH further afield! In the end they were going around to the front of the house, and onto the road. Since we only get one car an hour going past the house they didn't see any danger in it, but knowing how people drive round here, I knew it wouldn't be long before the inevitable happened and I lost a chicken.
However, to stop them wandering too far didn't actually take too much effort. People said I would have to put up a minimum 6 foot high fence or they would fly over it, but that wasn't the case at all. All I did was put a 3 foot high wire mesh fence along one side of the garden (where it meets the neighbour's field), and a 2 foot high electric fence (three wires) along the other. As they bumble around the garden pecking, scratching etc they come up to the obstacle, can't get past it at ground level, so simply turn round and head in a different direction. I only have 5 girls, so 1000m² is enormous for them, and they don't need to look elsewhere. If they were in a more confined area, and getting bored, then I think that they could well be tempted to fly over the fence to seek greener pastures elsewhere, but as they have loads of space there is no problem at all.
Very nice post. That pretty much described my experience. They are definitely individuals. Some tend to stay close to the coop, some roam a long way. Sometimes they stay in one flock, sometimes they form sub-flocks where some roam and some stay near home, with or without a rooster. Barriers play a part, whether that is a fence or just a hay field that has not been cut recently.