freerange chickens, behavior, and dust bath location

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chick'n'weave, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. chick'n'weave

    chick'n'weave Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2010
    Texas
    Haven't got the chickens yet, but am doing a lot of research. Any suggestions would be helpful.
    1) Am considering building a coop surrounded by a small run. I have a huge pasture and will plant to let the birds freerange. Should I build a dustbath area nearby in the pasture instead of within the run? My thinking was that have a pasture dustbath area might entice them to want to go out into the pasture frequently.
    2) I read somewhere that one fella waited until about 3:00 p.m. and then opened the run for the chickens to freerange, explaining that by dusk they all would return to the coop. Is that better than allowing them access to the pasture all day long?
    3) Living in north central Texas, with few snowy days, but several freezing temps, is it necessary to install insulation and heat lamps in the coop? Folks up north do that, but do Texas chickens need that?

    Thanks for your advice. Much appreciated.[​IMG]
     
  2. Cats Critters

    Cats Critters Completely Indecisive

    1) Am considering building a coop surrounded by a small run. I have a huge pasture and will plant to let the birds freerange. Should I build a dustbath area nearby in the pasture instead of within the run? My thinking was that have a pasture dustbath area might entice them to want to go out into the pasture frequently.

    Mine built their own and don't need to be enticed to go out to free-range
    2) I read somewhere that one fella waited until about 3:00 p.m. and then opened the run for the chickens to freerange, explaining that by dusk they all would return to the coop. Is that better than allowing them access to the pasture all day long?

    Normally people do that when their first starting to free-range to insure they know where home is, later on they can just be out all day long
    3) Living in north central Texas, with few snowy days, but several freezing temps, is it necessary to install insulation and heat lamps in the coop? Folks up north do that, but do Texas chickens need that?

    No it is not needed, I don't do it even though I'm in PA. [​IMG]
     
  3. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:Mine built their own and don't need to be enticed to go out to free-range
    2) I read somewhere that one fella waited until about 3:00 p.m. and then opened the run for the chickens to freerange, explaining that by dusk they all would return to the coop. Is that better than allowing them access to the pasture all day long?

    Normally people do that when their first starting to free-range to insure they know where home is, later on they can just be out all day long
    3) Living in north central Texas, with few snowy days, but several freezing temps, is it necessary to install insulation and heat lamps in the coop? Folks up north do that, but do Texas chickens need that?

    No it is not needed, I don't do it even though I'm in PA. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Only thing I'll add is that I don't even do partial day free range in the beginning. By the time they're old enough to free range they know where home is.​
     
  4. tedabug

    tedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I made a nice dust bathing area in a cozy corner just outside of their coop. I added sand and dirt and DE so I new they would love it. But NO, they walk all the way around the other side of my house and have created big holes under the window of my husbands office. We used to have a sand box there, so the dirt is loose and cool. Best laid plans.....they will decide where they think is best.

    I don't want the birds spending all day pooping on our deck and patio furniture, so I let them out to free range around 3 just so there are fewer hours to poop everything up, but they can still get some greens. You will figure out what works for you. I use a little scratch grains or oatmeal to lure them back to the coop if I need to lock them up and go somewhere. They will figure out pretty quickly who treat-people are and follow you everywhere wondering if you have any. Mine walk around the backyard with me following like dogs.

    Chickens tolerate cold far better than heat! Make sure they have a dry/draft/free area if they feel the need to get out of the elements and they will be fine. Mine ran around like happy birds in 19 degree temps over Thanksgiving.

    Enjoy and good luck!
     

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