free ranging in back yard Q?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bosoxbratt, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. bosoxbratt

    bosoxbratt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2009
    Hi all :)
    We are thinking of letting our flock out in our back yard to free range but I was wondering if we do will our back yard begin to smell?

    we move them from their pen to another area a few times a week so they can have a choice of plants and weeds and even bugs but the area is more like a dog kennel then a true free range area I was just wondering if any one who free ranges has a problem with thier yard smelling as the chickens range there? or their droppings killing the grass? TY
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    That depends on the size of your flock and the size of your yard. Big flock~small yard= eventual smells, especially in the summer time.

    If your yard is reasonably big and your flock small or average, you shouldn't have any smells to contend with. Their droppings won't kill the grass unless the above conditions are present, then their mere presence of trampling, scratching and pooping will kill off vegetation.

    I have an acre on which mine free range and I have two dogs who guard them.....the dogs clean up the chicken poop and the chickens clean up or disperse the dog poop, so I don't usually have any kind of odor or feces problems with my setup.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  3. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    I let my chickens free range. I have a big backyard, but unless yours is very small I doubt it will smell. I have more problems with my spoiled girls 'fertilizing' the back porch and concrete walkway. They actually come up and peck at the back door! Also, make sure you have good fences. Mine always get out into the driveway!
     
  4. Brahma Mamma

    Brahma Mamma Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2010
    We have a large piece of property. Our "house" birds (7 Lite Brahmas and 7 Easter eggers), or the adult birds, free range every day. They seem to have their own sense of boundary around the house and coop. So, they don't range out too far. We've never had a smell problem. They seem to graze a different area each day. Our dogs eat the poo too. Eww. They are also GREAT for our compost pile! They snack on it, scratch it and aerate it and then poop on it. WONDERFUL!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. suburbanminifarm

    suburbanminifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2009
    N.San Diego County
    Mine free range in the yard. The only smell is if they poop on concrete areas, so I use a pressure attachment for the hose. Like 7 bucks at Home Depot. Poops in the plants or grass just are a free fertilizer bonus! My grass is very green, trust me. You may want to sprinkle to help poo soak in and disappear, or if it rains where you live then nature will take care of it. No one ever tries to leave their boundaries, not even the birds that can fly well. They know they already have chicken eden right here!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

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    Hi! [​IMG]
    My bigger chickens can get into the backyard and I also have all my chicks loose in the backyard + 10 guineas. They don't really mess it up other then taking dust baths and making dirt spots where the grass was. [​IMG]
     
  7. Siler

    Siler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Quote:This one made me laugh because mine are the same way. We have lots of property and no fences so they go wherever they wish. I can tell when they're in the driveway when I hear honking. Our driveway is very long and we are the first house on a 4 family estate. Occasionally they head towards the driveway to check out the cow pasture next door or bugs under the trees. Family has to honk to get them to move and they're not afraid of cars or even lawn mowers now. They come up to the back door and even the windows to get our attention too. [​IMG]

    Poo does tend to attract flies, but I will usually just take an old broom and sweep at it then spray it with apple cider vinegar to keep the flies away. If they're big poops you could use a doggy pooper scooper. It's great fertilizer! You can hit it with the hose so it can wash down to the dirt too.
     
  8. bosoxbratt

    bosoxbratt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2009
    Thank you every body :)
    we are new to all this and just finding our way so far it is a blast! I can tell why people get addicted to it lol
    I am waiting for that first egg which will probably be end of july/aug as we got them March 20th and they were a week/ week and a half old but I keep checking anyway for that first egg lol
     
  9. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Durham, NC
    We let ours free range in our back yard. Like the others have said, if you've got a small flock and a big yard, it won't smell. Okay, if you're standing over a big fresh pile of poo, you might smell it, but the yard won't smell. And flies aren't an issue for us either. It's hot and steamy here, and I'd imagine it'd be the perfect place for flies to breed, but something seems to be keeping them at bay.

    I also have a hose with a pressure nozzle sitting at the ready just outside the back door. They'd all love to be house chickens - or at least screened porch chickens. No thanks, though. People inside. Chickens outside.

    Now that I've had free ranging chickens, I wouldn't want it any other way. It wouldn't be half the fun if they were penned up in a run all the time. It's just too entertaining watching them roam all over the yard. We've got so many trees and bushes that we've sometimes got to look pretty hard to find all of them.

    We've got two fences. An 8' wooden fence that's built just inside of the old 4' chain link fence. Some of the chickens will occasionally crawl under the 8' fence and run up and down between the fences. (The wooden fence has horizontal slats and is built on a slope so some spots have quite a bit of clearance.) Only one hen has continued over the lower fence to visit the neighbors. She flew back after some coaxing by the neighbors' kids. Blocking these egress points is on my list of things to do, but it's somewhere close to the bottom. The fence keeps the neighborhood dogs (and deer) out, and like another post mentioned, my chickens know they've got it good here. They're not going anywhere.

    Let 'em roam - and enjoy!
     
  10. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

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    Sep 23, 2007
    Beaufort, MO
    Quote:This one made me laugh because mine are the same way. We have lots of property and no fences so they go wherever they wish. I can tell when they're in the driveway when I hear honking. Our driveway is very long and we are the first house on a 4 family estate. Occasionally they head towards the driveway to check out the cow pasture next door or bugs under the trees. Family has to honk to get them to move and they're not afraid of cars or even lawn mowers now. They come up to the back door and even the windows to get our attention too. [​IMG]

    Poo does tend to attract flies, but I will usually just take an old broom and sweep at it then spray it with apple cider vinegar to keep the flies away. If they're big poops you could use a doggy pooper scooper. It's great fertilizer! You can hit it with the hose so it can wash down to the dirt too.

    I can relate to this. We also have no problem with flies. In the chicken house I have hanging a gallon storage bag with a penny and water in one tip to prevent flies from there. For some reason the flies are scared away by this. Some suspect that it looks like a hornets nest and flies do not get near them. I also have three hanging in my goat pen and not one fly. We live in the country in a hollow in the woods. Besides our 10 1/2 acres there are many acres of woods and farmland surrounding us. We are at the very end of a circle drive - which is actually the end of the rock road that looks like a driveway. My chickens free-range all day every day along with the goats. We have no fencing any where and they only stay around here. One of my hens comes to the door and starts hollering so I will bring out saltines for her and the others. They will ALL be standing waiting with her by the time I get out there. [​IMG] I always know when there is someone coming up the drive because the roosters send out the alarm and then the honking starts as the delivery, mail or trash truck try to make their way up to the house - v e r y s l o w l y, ushered in my menagerie of chickens (and sometimes even the goats - most the time they just hang out on one of the porches).
     

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