How confined is confinement?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by OverEggstended, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    13
    133
    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    So, getting ready to order some chicks and a bit puzzled. The breed I am really partial to (Hamburgs) says they are not fond of confinement. Firstly, do they mean 24/7? These little guys will hopefully be doing pest control in the yard and garden for at LEAST a few hours each day. I have no issues with them being flighty, as I am a master wing clipper and can only have 8 chickens and they will be pretty much hand reared. And even if they DONT like confinement, what exactly does this mean? The get cranky and bored and peck each other... or become totally neurotic and freak out... or just that they will spend hours a day perfecting their Houdini act?
     
  2. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    13
    133
    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    I am used to living in the country with free range New Hampshire's... who were raised to think they were house chickens! So, this has never been an issue. I now live in town, but all my neighbors are keen on me having chickens. I have a 5 foot chain link fence, which SHOULD help to keep these guys in yard, but I would like to supervise their foraging when possible, so they WILL spend time in a coop and run.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,360
    5,332
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    The general rule of thumb is a minimum of 4 s.f. in the coop, and 10 s.f. in the run per bird. If you can give them more space, that would be great, but I'd not try to do it with less.
     
  4. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    13
    133
    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    Thank you Gardener. But my question is more of what all the books and sites mean by both the term "confinement", and what it means if a bird's temperament is listed as "does not bear confinement well".
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,557
    2,496
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    That kind of confinement means being enclosed in a pen as opposed to having freedom to run all over a large area, scratching wherever they want to look for and eat bugs, grass, and things smaller than they are that are on the move.

    Some chicken breeds are more suited to free ranging because they are resourceful at foraging for food. Other breeds don't mind the same small area of ground, in fact feel more secure in a confined space.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,965
    3,129
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The get cranky and bored and peck each other... or become totally neurotic and freak out... or just that they will spend hours a day perfecting their Houdini act?

    It can mean any and all of these. It means you are more likely to have behavioral problems of some sort the tighter their living area. The more freedom they have to roam the more content they will be. There is not a magic number that will make all problems miraculously go away for any breed or any chicken, just that the more room they have the less likely you are to have a problem.

    Flighty does not mean they fly a lot or even fly that much better than other chickens. It means they scare easily, are more prone to panic.

    Breeds have tendencies but this is as much an individual chicken thing as a breed thing. Some chickens of any breed will take confinement better or be less flighty than others of the same breed. Use it more as a general guideline instead of believing it will accurately describe any one specific chicken of that breed.
     
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by