Free ranging in yard - Is it a good idea?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hemolymph, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. hemolymph

    hemolymph In the Brooder

    Nov 1, 2010
    San Tan Valley, AZ
    I live in a cookie cutter type neighborhood and I am trying to figure out if I should let my chickens roam my backyard or build a run. My friend who lives down the street let's her chickens roam around free when the dogs aren't in the yard and then she puts them in the coop at night. She has a veggie garden but she put the fence around it so the chickens can't get to it.

    Also, if I build a run does it have to have a top on it? Or can it just be a fence?

  2. Depends on flying predators and how young and/or flighty your chickens are. Some will fly over fences, and hawks are dangerous! But if you are there when they are out, it should be fine. I would recommend a small fenced, roofed run to let them loose in always and then allowing them access to the yard when you are home. Even if you free range most of the time, if you leave town for the weekend, you will want the security of the run cuz your petsitter won't want to do a daily headcount!
  3. torrelee

    torrelee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    long beach, wa
    I live in the city and have a fenced backyard. My girls "free range" in the yard during the day, but have an attached run with a roof connected to my coop for times when I cant let them out. It also gives them an outside space for rainy days, or when they wake up before you do. Like your friend, I chicken wired around my garden, as they tend to eat or scratch up whatever they can get at. I recently noticed them picking the leaves off my fuschia plant! More space seems to be better for daytime turn out, the enclosed run on my coop has no grass left and tends to get muddy. There was a thread posted about "salad bars" for chickens where they planted grass in the coops. If you decide to keep them in a run all day I would definately read that!
  4. EggyErin

    EggyErin Songster

    Apr 2, 2011
    N. Ga mountains
    Do you have any trees? Shrubs? I think they could free-range if there are places where they can take cover. My girls roam our yard all day. It's big but broken up by shrubs and small, bushy trees so there's always shelter close by. I have a chicken yard attached to the coop. It's fenced but no top. It's in woods. Also, the girls can get under the coop for protection if need be.
  5. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    I free-range and I know that I could (and have) lost chickens. You just have to be willing to take the loss if it comes along.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by