I justy can't free range!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 25, 2010
I keep trying to figure out a way to let my girls free range, and I don't see how I can do it. The coop and run are in our back field and close to our neighbor's field. No fence means they would surely go on to someone else's property right? Not kosher with me. The other issue we have is a massive feral cat infestation. The adolescents love to hang out by the coop, so I know my banties wouldn't be safe from their claws. Trapping has barely made a dent in the population, and our AC is the WORST (Don't even get me started...).

Sooo...just how horrible is it to keep my chickens caged? Right now they have a 10' x 10' run. My DH and I have decided to expand it soon to 20'x 20'. That means 3 LF and 2 Bantams will have 400sf right? Somebody soothe my guilt and tell me it's OK and my chickies aren't missing out!


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Your chickens will be perfectly fine in a nice large run like that. Certainly far better than many, many other chickens, even "backyard" chickens. Not everybody CAN let their chickens range freely. Just be sure to give them plenty of greens, and try to provide them with any bugs you find.

Security, in my mind, is far more important than letting chickens out into dangerous territory.


10 Years
Jun 22, 2009
Oklahoma County, OK
It's what they get used to...they'll be fine. Some mulch cut grass clippings (short blades), occasional watermelon, treats and attention...they'll be happy.
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Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Your chickens already have WAY WAY WAY more spacious quarters than most BYCers'

Your chickens are not missing out and you are not a bad chicken-mom.

Chuck them nontoxic garden weedings and kitchen scraps and so forth and they will be quite happy.

Good luck, have fun,



11 Years
May 15, 2008
upstate NY
Yep, your girls have lots more room than mine - I also can't free range, due to hawks, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, etc. I would like to build a chicken tractor, so they can range in confinement, at least in the summer. This might be an option for you, especially if the cats are the only real predator problem...and I'd think if you had lots of other predators, you'd have fewer feral cats! There are some good plans for hoop style tractors on the coop section here on the forum...and you don't always need a tractor to move them!

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
I have a fair size run, not huge like yours though. I cannot free range 100% of the time, due to predators. Anytime I let them out, I know that there is a chance that I will lose one. Sometimes I do let them out, and they tend to stay fairly close. The trick is, even though they are in a pen, always call something to them when you are bringing food or treats. That way they are easy to round up even in the daylight.

The thing is if you do not overcrowd your chickens, they will be quite content in a pen. If they are not getting along, having big pecking issues, you probably have too many chickens for that space. I had 10 last year, had a predator get 2, leaving me 8, and really the 8 got along much better. I think my coop/run is perfect for 8.

So the big question is right now I have 5 hens...... and 11 baby chicks. Somehow, that is more than 8, going to look for fencing today....bigger run?


Country Cluck

In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 4, 2009
Battle Ground
I can't truly free range either, so in addition to my 2 permanent (fenced) pastures I invested in some of that plastic deer fencing. You can get 7ft (h) x 100 (L) roll of it at Lowes in the garden department for $12.95 and metal fence posts to make expandable/ moveable pastures. Works great and it is light weight and cheap. You can also get the metal ground staples at Lowes (package of 100) for $10.


7 Years
I can't free range also. Mainly because there's nothing for them to eat because I have desert sand for a yard. Another reason is predators. I'm thinking of expanding when money allows. I wish I could find other people on BYC that live at high elevations, off the grid, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but sand as their soil.

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