Free roaming chickens???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SweetLilRachy00, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. SweetLilRachy00

    SweetLilRachy00 Songster

    Oct 30, 2007
    Simpsonville, SC
    Do you live in a huge field, neighborhood, on a farm....???

    How are some of you able to do this? I kinda feel bad that ours are kept in a 'cage'.

    I know our cats would kill ours...or they would get run over by the traffic on our street... I don't think DH would approve of me letting them out anyways.[​IMG]
  2. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I'd start by letting them out only under observation.

    We have a perimeter fence, which may or may not have any accessible holes in it, but my ducks will squeeze through the 4"x4" holes if they want to anyway. They have only been out in the road once, and I fortunately caught them at it and got them back in. It had taken them some time to figure out that they could get out through the gate. Now we have it chicken-wired. I'll just watch them to see where else they can get through.

    Even if I'm not watching constantly, I'll check on them regularly while they are free-ranging. We have 2.5 acres and they go where they please. Most of the time they stick close to the house, which is a relief to me.

    My cats are not a threat. I think you will find that chickens can hold their own, and cats have better things to do.
  3. JenniferJoIN

    JenniferJoIN Songster

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    We live in the country, that's why ours can free range. [​IMG]
  4. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    Yep, we live out in the country. 5 acres: boundary fences on both sides, pond blocks them off in the back, 'scary' dogs keep them from ranging out front to the street.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I live on about 7 acres, mostly wooded and unaccessible, and the only way out to the highway is down the driveway, which then the chickens would lose sight of the house, and thus don't go that far. So I let them out and take losses as they come. Surrounded by developments LITERALLY as I am in a very city like area and it grew up around us....
  6. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    our 4 peeps are only a month old now, so the only free-ranging that they do so far is in my family room (they like the spider-man bigwheel - peck peck peck!).

    but when they're old enough, they'll be going to live in their coop w/attached run in the backyard. their run is about 8x5. this winter we're going to build a smaller tractor-like thing for them to spend a little more time in the yard without direct supervision that we can move around the yard for them - it won't really be predator-proof, just chicken-escape proof. they'll have free range time in the whole back yard when we're out there with them (maybe 1-2hrs a day). we're smack in the middle of town, neighbor's houses and ours are probably 15-20ft apart. our lot is probably .30 acre. not the teensiest, certainly not a homestead!!!

    sooooo, they'll be free-rangin' for all they're worth (and probably trying to expand their territory to our neighbors' yards....) in the space we've got. i should mention 2 things: back is completely fenced, with gates on both sides of the house, so they can't get to the front yard; we love our neighbors on both sides (they're already lobbying for eggs!) so if the girls do stage a break-out, they'll be safe in neighbor yards. i have been contemplating how to i.d. tag them (my dogs and cats are microchipped, but somehow.....) so that if they did manage to go wandering around out front they'd get plopped back at the right house..........
  7. Any cat that thinks it will have fresh chicken for afternoon snack will get a life lesson from a full grown chicken. Yes a lone chicken or a young pullet or cockeral might get taken but a flock of chickens will band together while ranging and keep many eyes on your cats. The cat will find out what the leading edge of a wing can feel like under full power and find a less fiesty meal.

    First I always range them just before sundown so they get the habit of returning to their quarters. Then let them out sooner and sooner in the day. If they range too far shorten the time. Mine now range 24/7, they are not locked in a night anymore but they are always there. I have a LGD though, not everyone can leave the barn doors open.
  8. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Mine have a 1/4 mile hike to get to the road, and woods on 3 sides. I think silkiechicken is right they dont like to loose site of home. I also have guineas that warn whenever anything comes into the yard. My cat will stay on the porch and climbs up into her box if the herd gets too close. when she does go out in the yard the guineas shreik and she runs to get out of the yard and into the woods.
    Guinneas have scared off a fox (guess he realized he wasn't gonna surprise anyone). Noisey but worth it I think.
  9. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    i don't think it's for everyone or every situation. for instance, if you are not willing to miss a few eggs now and then. if you are not worried if one were to fly away (none of mine ever have even though they can fly.) if you don't mind finding chicken poop in odd places.

    personally, i like it because i don't have one big stinking place to muck out. i hate stuff like that.

    i do eat some of these as the times comes. however, next year i think i will have a crop just for eating. those will probably go in an enclosure. am thiniking of building a coop down one side of the fence farthest away from me and everyone else. it will be larger than it has to be, that's just my emotional side. but i also know it will be a stinky icky mess. yuck. maybe i will build it on my neighbors property. you don't think they would mind, do you?
  10. FluffyChickenMama

    FluffyChickenMama Songster

    Jun 13, 2007
    I live on only an acre but Im fortunate that my acre is surrounded by acres upon acres of cow fields.. They never go towards the highway but they do use the yard by the house sometimes but they prefer to goto the cow fields and peck the day away..

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