How far are they going to roam?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lakeontariochicks, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. lakeontariochicks

    lakeontariochicks In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2010
    Lake Ontario, NY
    I read a study on free ranging versus confined hens, and the free range girls laid eggs much earlier. (ok, it was just one family who did the experiment, but still.)
    My goal all along has been to free range my chicks. I feel they will be fine out there, with me and the dogs constantly around.
    One of my concerns though is how far they are going to roam? Straight behind their run is lots and lots of lawn, then a wild area, then woods. To the left is a huge apple orchard.
    Unfortunately to the right is is our neighbor/landlords lawn. In the front of the two houses are his beautiful flower beds.
    I would say the flower beds are at least 200 feet away from the run, and hidden by the houses and 2 garages.
    Are the girls going to head for the woods and apple orchards?
    Do I have to worry that they are going to head over to the neighbors and dig up his prized Calla Lily's?
    If they start roaming too far, and I then lock them in a coop for a couple of days, will that help to break that instinct?
    Any and all advice will be considered!!![​IMG]
  2. eventmerlin

    eventmerlin In the Brooder

    Nov 25, 2009
    I free range my chickens and have lost more to my darn dog than to not and I repeat do NOT trust your dog. She was raised around them and once she killed one it was all over. I have now fenced off with chicken wire my picket fence (where dog is) and the chickens cannot get in with her. But I would not trust your dogs. Expect to lose chickens when you free range........ My chickens stay in their yard but they do go over to the neighbors yards 300 feet away during the fall and early spring when there isn't much food in their area. gardens will get scratched..... they will head to apple orchard.... locking them in and then letting them out will not fix it.... they will go where they want... good luck [​IMG] My neighbors love them (free eggs) yours might not...but maybe you can bribe them with free eggs.
  3. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Songster

    i dont 100% trust any dog, but i am pretty sure on my dog. i taught him not to go after the chickens, and actually, i leave him outside when they free range to protect them
  4. Jeeper1540

    Jeeper1540 Songster

    I started free ranging my chickens a few months ago.(around april) and they love it. every time they get out, they venture a little farther. the last couple days, they have gone all the way on the other side of my house. i have only ever lost one, and i think it was an owl, so now i put them in earlier then i used to. he was the smallest chicken i had (a little leghorn) so i figure he looked like an easy target.
  5. 95yj

    95yj Songster

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    the post was about free ranging, not dogs, please stick to the question, some dogs believe it or not are not out to kill everything that moves, i stuck an oegb hen in my goldens mouth and he walked around for a while and then put it down. As for free ranging every situation is different, I free range my freedom rangers and they don't go out of my yard (of course they're broilers so they're goal in life is to eat). I'd just try it out and see how it goes from there.
  6. vstoltzfus

    vstoltzfus Songster

    Aug 10, 2009
    Lancaster County, PA
    When I first got my chickens I let them free range all day. They wandered a little farther every day, until finally they were free ranging themselves right off my 3 acres and onto my neighbors' property. I want to be a good neighbor, so I built a very large chicken run, and only let them free range for about 3 hours at the end of the day, and only when I'm at home so I can make sure they don't wander too far. Limiting their time has helped keep them on my property, as they don't have too much time to wander away. I have learned that chickens are like cats. They will go where they want, and they only way to prevent it is to lock them up. Good luck.
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yes, it most likely won't be long before your chickens "discover" (and I can almost hear their gleeful cackles when they do) your landlord's flower beds. If he/she's willing, you can offer to wire them off. I let my girls out of their run when I'm home, and they usually stay pretty close to the house, but they occasionally stroll all the way around (@ 3 acres). And it's a guarantee that if you don't want them to find something, they will [​IMG] Honestly, shutting them in their coop will do no good, as they won't associate being closed in with "Oh...I'm not supposed to go there."
  8. jgilliatt

    jgilliatt In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2010
    I let my little ladies out each morning with the same question - How far will they go? At first it was just to a near-by tree with plenty of undergrowth. Then they started moving up the yard to another area of undergrowth. Then to my garden (We did some quick fencing.) Then to the side of the house and even to the front (We really don't want all of the neighbors to know about the chickens). We have four acres spreading into wood to the back but they like moving toward the house. I am considering laying out watermelon and other treats to lure them towards the back, although I worry that there might be more preditors back there. I love that they are free range during the day - they always come running if we are outside.
  9. awheel11

    awheel11 Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    My dog is very protective of her chicken babies [​IMG] (especially chicks, if that cat so much as looks at them she is chased almost to China!) I live on 7 acres of land with pastures on it and we're surrounded by fields of corn. My chickens stay fairly close to their coop, the farthest they have wandered to is down by the pine trees near the front of the property. They have never gone out to the fields (which was my biggest concern)
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I've been free ranging my flock in my back yard (it's pretty big) for the past couple of months. I left a drive gate open to the one-third of an acre pasture immediately adjacent to my back yard, and any time a chicken wandered out there, the rooster would herd her right back into the yard. However, in the past few days, my land-lady reports they've been wandering into the tree-covered corridor between our back yards. And around the house to the front of it, near where I park my car.

    This morning, the two ducks met me at the front door. Hey, howdy!

    They were dabbling in a small dribble of water from a hole in the garden hose out front, and immediately ran to the front screen door when I opened the house door. Whilst I was discussing the matter with them, two of the pullets ran down the side of the house to see what the ducks were getting that they weren't. I walked them all back into the back yard..... just so I didn't have to worry about anybody getting stupid around the car when I started it to go to work.

    My DOGS don't even go out to see me off in the mornings! (They do, however, greet me when I get home at night.)

    Luckily, the whole acre is fenced. I'm waiting to see how far the poultry will wander.

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