Free ranging for 1-2 hours per day- unfenced suburban yard

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BackToMyRoots, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. BackToMyRoots

    BackToMyRoots Chirping

    Jun 29, 2010
    Matthews, NC
    Okay, so I like to give the girls a little free-range time at the end of the day from time to time. They love it, but I know it's not as safe as keeping them in their little run. I stay outside with them to make sure I'm as much of a predator deterrent as I can be, but I don't have a fence. I usually keep a broom nearby in case we suddenly get a stray dog, which hasn't been the case before. We hardly have any outdoor cats, even. Our main predators are opossum and raccoons, which are nocturnal.

    My question is, I know I'm playing Russian roulette with them no matter what by doing this, but does it even help for me to be physically present? Am I deluding myself that I'm lowering the odds of losing the girls by hanging out with them? I'd hate to think I was just out there to feed the mosquitoes and entertain the neighbors...
  2. Candice's Peeps

    Candice's Peeps In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    Northeast PA
    My chickens free-ranged for about 6 weeks while my husband was building the coop and I couldn't always be home 24-7 to keep an eye on them and they all survived. However, I know you are only talking about 1-2 hours a day and I think they will be fine and stay closer to the coop. Mine eventually become quite the wanderers because they were out all of the time...but they always came back near the house at the end of the day. I saw elsewhere in the forum how someone suggested letting them out about 1 hour before they usually go to bed for the night to make sure they don't go too far away and I intend to start doing that since they seem to be pretty routine in their enclosure about going in for the night (usually by 8:30 like clockwork).

    I have the advantage though of not really having neighbors, but as I mentioned...if you let them out closer to bedtime instead of in the morning when they may let curiosity lead them to other peoples' yards, I don't think they would interfere too much with your neighbors because they would be more likely to stay closer to home.

    Good luck!!
  3. nzpouter

    nzpouter Songster

    Jan 19, 2009
    new zealand
    you're putting yourself at risk.... a fixated dog will give you a bite if you try to pinch his kill.....
  4. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I think you are a deterrent to predators. A hawk is going to think twice before trying to grab one of your hens if you are close by. NZ is right abou you being at risk with a dog, though, but then some dogs will not venture too close if they see a human.
  5. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Home Depot sells 2x4 wire that 36" high and 50 feet long for $27. Buy three or four rolls, put it together end to end, make a free-standing circle with it. That'll keep them in for practically nothing, and it's easily moved to other locations.
  6. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    can you put a temp fence up to keep the chickens in the yard? its a risk your taking. [​IMG]
    if your comfortable in your decision than okay. [​IMG]
    good luck. [​IMG]
  7. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:Actually, people have posted here on BYC about hawks attacking their birds right before their own eyes; I don't think a hawk is deterred by human presence. A dog might be, though, unless it was a feral one.
  8. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    How about building a chicken tractor? That's what I have (pictures on my BYC page). Even though our yard is fenced, I have bantams that are small enough to be at risk from neighborhood cats who can climb our fence.
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Although you will probably not prevent an attack you may be able to disrupt one. Attacking dog in a killing frenzy might present a danger to you. Although you may not see them regardless of where you are, you probably have fox and coyotes- your presence may impede their attacks. Hawks, especially immature birds, would probably be your next biggest problem. I have had hawks catch and kill pigeons within feet of me. If hungry and uneducated about humans (migratory birds) they are fearless.
  10. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I don't know how many chickens you have but I made a "Range Rover" for mine. It was very simple to make and is light weight and collapsible so can be folded and stored when you are not using it.

    If you are interested in making one I took pictures while I was making it and will be happy to post them.

    I still have to add the wheels, but for now I just slide it on my grass. It is 8' X 4'.

    Here it is; [​IMG]

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