How far will my chicks wander on my property?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kar0427, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. kar0427

    kar0427 In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2013
    Nicholasville, Ky
    I hope to have my chicks out of the run when I'm outside working or porch sitting while the weather is nice. Behind and both sides of me is cattle-fenced field, but in the front there is a fairly busy state road 250 feet from the house. There's a plank fence across the front except for a driveway opening.
    How secure can I be that they won't head for the highway, and what strategy can I use to ensure they don't or call them back if they wander too far in that direction? Thanks!
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Calling them back is a good training tool to have for this situation and others - I like a nice loud rattle (an empty water bottle with a handful of grit works fabulously and is cheap) - rattle, call and treat so that they associate the noise with getting a treat. Start working at close range and then start expanding the distance - before you know it you'll be able to not see a single bird, shake that bottle and have birds come running/flying out of nowhere to get to you.
    Plenty of folks keep flocks near a busy road - for the most part they will naturally prefer the area that is good grazing (grass, yard, ditch next to road) but the road surface itself is not so desirable to them and has busy, loud, scary cars on it so the birds go *to* the road but stay out of it pretty well. I have seen a few birds that got a bit brave/dumb and gotten hit, but it's actually pretty uncommon when you think about the number of birds that are involved. That said, if you feel more comfortable preventing their access all together you could add chicken barrier to the bottom of the plank fencing (between round and first plank), but that would still leave your driveway opening and, if not gated, that will be like a magnet to them as being kept "out" of somewhere makes them want to get "in" there all the more so they will find that ONE spot and use it to get to the other side of the fence where the best treats must be being kept from them, lol. Since you say your plan is mostly with regards to times you are outside you can probably get away pretty well with just leaving things as they are and calling the flock back to you from time to time, especially if you notice them wandering to a place you are not comfortable with.
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  3. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    I would train them to come for treats when you call them before letting them venture too far. Keep a eye out for hawks that may sit in trees looking for easy prey.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    They are living animals. There is no telling how far they will roam. Usually they don’t go far from the coop and run when they are first let out but over time they can roam further. Some flocks will not roam that far but I have had some that will. I’ve had hens that will split from the main flock to go play in the road.

    What can you do? Any physical barrier can help, even if they can easily get over it. It just helps define their territory. They will just walk through a barbed wire fence as if it’s not there, but anything that even looks solid can help. I’ve seen the edge of a hay field stop them when the vegetation is tall and wall-like.

    What can you do to call them back? It takes a bit of work, but train them to come to your call. Get a bucket or container and put treats in it. As you feed them treats shake the bucket and give a call, maybe “here chick chick” kind of loud. Every time you feed hem a treat from this bucket give the call. Every time you give the call give them a treat from that bucket. Food works wonders to train them.
  5. kar0427

    kar0427 In the Brooder

    Nov 16, 2013
    Nicholasville, Ky
    Thanks, all! That's what I was hoping to be able to do, encourage them back often at first with treats to get them used to returning if they head too far in that direction. My dogs and cats want nothing to do with the road - too much noise and activity - but I wasn't sure it would necessarily deter chickens. Hopefully between treats, traffic activity and my own vigilance they'll stay safe and still be able to enjoy the rest of the farm.

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