1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Free Ranging- dangers?.. Advice needed

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by janellelg, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. janellelg

    janellelg Hatching

    Feb 13, 2015
    I have a small flock of 2 chickens, a rooster (who at a previous home took on an eagle for his ladies and survived!)

    and 2 ducks. I have a decent sized fenced in back yard (pic. is from 2 years ago when lawn was put in). [​IMG]
    My flock does NOT have clipped wings. We are located in Alaska. Predators in our area are mainly the owls, hawks, and eagles.


    1. If I let them free range in the fenced in yard, will they stick around or do you think they will go outside of the fence?

    2. Will they make a mess of my yard? (mostly worried about the ducks)

    I don't want them destroying the yard, or God forbid get taken by a large bird... but I know they would enjoy free ranging and the shallow pool!
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You might like to check out your state thread and see what people in your area do about predators https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/84141/north-to-alaska/0_20
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/chicken-tractors-mobile-chicken-coop-designs you might consider making a tractor or two for your flock, good way to keep them safe from aerial predators and it lets you control where they are digging etc.
    The birds will probably go over the fence if you let them free range, you can try wing clipping, but depending on how high the fence is and if there is anything to help them get over, they will eventually try.
    With only four birds, you won't have much pressure on your grass etc. but yes, they will make something of a mess of your yard eventually if you don't watch them or contain them to certain places. Chickens are destructive with their scratching and digging and inevitably seem to decide the best place to make a dust pit is exactly where you least want it. Ducks aren't as bad with the digging, unless it is wet/ there is water, then they can turn anything into a wet mess.
  3. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop
    [​IMG]Welocme to BYC!!! It is an aweosme forum (the BEST in the world) and has a great comminity!!! Hope you have a great time and learn A LOT!
  4. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Hi :welcome

    Glad you could join the flock! Great advice there for you from Kelsie. Clipping a wing could help but even so if the fence is not high enough they could still fly out (I found this out with escaping birds)
    Wishing you the very best of luck with your flock. Hope you enjoy BYC, I am sure you will :frow
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing 5 Years

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome![​IMG] I'm glad you joined our community.

    Kelsie2290's given you some good advice.
  6. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us!
  7. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

    Nov 4, 2014
    East Tennessee.
    Hello and Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you decided to join! Feel free to ask any questions you may have, we will try to help you anyway we can. [​IMG]
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    My chickens are very good at staying in our non-fenced yard. But chickens are also curious birds that will wander.

    And yes, chickens do have a tendency to mess up plants, gardens and yards in general. You'll need to fence in any plants and other areas you don't want your chickens to get into.
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member 8 Years

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    If you want to be certain your birds stay inside your yard, you will need a cover so they can't fly out, and nothing can fly/jump or climb in to attack them. I would imagine in your state you also have snakes - they steal eggs and eat baby chicks if given the opportunity. It seems everything loves chicken and not in a romantic way.
  10. AK Chick

    AK Chick In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2016
    I'm in Alaska, and when we first got our chickens 3 years ago, we didn't cover the chicken yard, and we lost 2 hens right away. Between the Eagles, Falcons, Owls, and Ravens, we decided to cover the top with some driftnet. No problems since. Except in winter, when the ground level is a foot or two shorter, and my ponytail gets caught in the netting! Ouch!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: