I want to free range (sort of) but have concerns.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Renthorin, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Renthorin

    Renthorin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    Dexter Michigan
    I will be getting my 12 hens shortly and want to let them wander a section of the property. They will have a nice secure coop and an attached pen (10x20 hopefully). As I have been constructing the coop, I keep noticing how nice and 'fun' the property around the coop looks. My concern, however, is that even if I use 4 foot high box wire and fence in a 1/4 acre or so of the woods, they won't stay in that to free range.

    The area is pretty dense. Pine/oak/maple/cherry..etc. Lots of ground cover. Tons of leaves. A few dirt piles...etc. Sounds like the perfect place to roam but will they fly over the 4 foot fence to go further away?

  2. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    They might after a while...They will stick pretty close to the coop for a while..Then as time goes on and they feel more comfortable and safe within their surroundings-they get braver. My girls have jump 4-6 ft fences-no often at all but they have done it:( They always came back though. Your best bet is to let them free range after 4-5pm..That way they dont have time to wander far-they'll forage in close areas and not have time to make it to the fence before roosting time:) Always works for me now. I have a small clan of bandits who always tried to cross our tiny country road. So I keep them in coop/run area until I get home at 5pm-then they go out-they have yet to cross that road or even get close again-always back on roosts at 8pm:)
  3. BHyder1

    BHyder1 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2009
    let them roam if you can, my 40 chickens hang around my5 acres and usually stay by the house or the coop.. they always head to the coop by 7 or so.. i have a 100 acre farm that is next to my land, and they have never jumped the fince or gone where i cannot fnd them.
  4. Renthorin

    Renthorin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    Dexter Michigan
    That is a really good idea [​IMG] I just assumed I would let them out all day but I think I'll try your method of a few hours only.

    I just figured with all the food they will have access to, they would not NEED (therefore want) to go any further away.

    Thanks for the suggestion :)
  5. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    They most likely will. I do like sonew123 does. I keep them in the run till I get home, let them out about 4-5, they free range till about 8:30 and then head back for the coop. On the weekends when I know I'll be home and not going anywhere I let them out even earlier.
  6. Renthorin

    Renthorin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    Dexter Michigan
    Yup.. That's what I will try :)

    Where in MI Sue?
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I have a 100 acres & free range everyday they stay close to their coop.
  8. pepperlady

    pepperlady Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 24, 2011
    I let my chickens out every morning around 8AM and then put them back up in the evening at about 7-8PM. We live on about 100 acres and so far they haven't felt the need to wander out of our yard. We have a lot of cover as well and they love to play in the leaves and such. Just keep in mind that where there are woods, there are predators too [​IMG] I love that you want to let them out daily even if it is after 5. Whatever they get used to will become what they expect....kinda like kids in that sense..........
  9. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
    We have dogs that get loose in the neighborhood occasionally, so we are nervous about free-ranging. We got a 4 foot tall nylon fence (160 feet long), which we set up attached to the secure run. It can be moved enough that there are always green areas. While I am sure all of the chickens are capable of flying over the fence, only one does. Luckily, it is our cross-beak, so she is not really do damage to our garden.
    That was our way of sort of free-ranging.
  10. Renthorin

    Renthorin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    Dexter Michigan
    I also need to make sure they don't fly into the back yard or my dogs will make a quick snack of them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by