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How far will the hens wander?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mtnpull, May 19, 2011.

  1. mtnpull

    mtnpull In the Brooder

    May 12, 2011
    I think this is in the right section (behaviors).

    I am really quite new to chickens but have lurked a while and think I may already know the answer, but would like to get some "expert" feedback. [​IMG]

    I currently have my chickens in a run that is about 30' x 120'. It is rather large and they range all day in there. They have access to feed at will as well. But I also have an acre of ground (pasture/field) that could present them with many plants and bugs to forage on. The problem I have is that we actually live on the corner of a road that goes right to a middle school and a busier road out front. Most of it is fenced, but is just field fencing the chickens could squeeze through or fly over. I want to be able to let them range, but I don't want them out in one of the roads getting hit or exposed to some obnoxious teen walking home from school.

    I am guessing that for the most part they will stay inside the fence and since the coop is home and where they roost the will always come back and not venture too far away. Do I have any bigger concerns with letting them out? No need to comment about predators as I know the risks there already, I am mostly concerned with them staying on my property.

    I also have a garden that I wouldn't mind some pest control in, but I am afraid they will just eat the greens and damages the veggies. Is this a valid concern?

  2. mtnpull

    mtnpull In the Brooder

    May 12, 2011
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have 11 acres and find chickens wandering all over it. [​IMG] We are fully fenced with a 4 foot no-climb horse fence 2x4 inch squares - so no adults can squeeze thru.

    If your field fencing is a 4x4 square - then I would get some chicken wire to run along the inside of the fence to discourage chickens from squeezing thru. Depending upon the height of your fence, the weight of your birds plus how attractive things on the other side of the fence look - all factor in to if your chickens will stay on their side of the fence.

    There are chicken keepers who clip wings to discourage any lift up and over the fence.
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Crowing

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    A friend of mine lives on a country road but it is the main thru way. SHe says her birds never cross the road. THey did fly over the 8 foot fencing that surrounds the back yard pasture/dogrun and met their demise via her own dogs.[​IMG] But they never crossed the road-- i don't know if this is typical chicken behavior.
  5. mtnpull

    mtnpull In the Brooder

    May 12, 2011
    Thanks for the comments.....keep em coming.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I doubt a even a small flock restrict their home range to a 1 acre patch. You may be able direct their activites in a desired direction by placement of feeders where you want them to go. They will also gravitate to cover, especially during middle of day when hot. I f possible place feeder near that.
  7. sevenbabychicks

    sevenbabychicks Songster

    Sep 9, 2010
    Saint Paul, MN
    I live on two acres, and my 7-bird flock pretty much just sticks to one. Occasionally they foray into the woods or up to the road, but not for long. Maybe it depends on how many birds you have...? Also, I throw a lot of scraps out of my door for them, so perhaps they stick around hoping for a snack [​IMG]

  8. twister

    twister Songster

    Sep 12, 2009
    First, YES they will destroy your garden...so make sure you fence it off before letting them free range.

    Secondly, I live on 5 ac---- the hens will NEVER venture more than say 100 ft from their coop... I do not know why really and they NEVER cross the road... DUNNO why on that either. I suppose it is bc they feel very secure around their area and have all their needs ( food/water/ and cover from hawks) nearby. PLUS they are ALWAYS watching the door to see if i am coming with treats!!!! lol.
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  9. Totes Quackers

    Totes Quackers Chirping

    Apr 17, 2011
    I am on a much smaller piece of land, about 1/4 acre, fully fenced and 5 of my 6 hens are happy as can be to stay within the fence (they could get through or go over if they really tried)... I do have 1 hen who is rather adventurous and enjoys nothing more then 'flying the coop' so to speak at every available opportunity! She flies up to the top of the fence and looks around or onto the shed roof! She is definately the naughty one and always up to mischief.
  10. Fritatta

    Fritatta Chirping

    May 16, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    my 5 girls dont wander more than about 200 feet from their coop. 2 buff orps, 2 EEs and one crazy polish crested. Their coop has some tree cover, water, food and nesting boxes so they want to stay close.
    We are at least 500 feet from the road, however. So I'd say chicken wire along the bottom of your fence.
    Only one of my hens, a EE, can and will hope our fence, and i'm sure I could stop that by trimming some feathers.

    I am REALLY pleased with how they stay in the yard. They do have fun with the mulch around the house - kicking it all over the place. But it seems like so much fun for them, that i cant stop em.

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