If I let my chickens out will they become escape artist?

Im Barred up

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 6, 2012
54
3
43
New Brunswick

I have a fairly large run for my little flock, but now that fall is here my chickens are starting to do quite a number on their enclosed area as the grass has stopped growing for the season. They are all full size now and should be a little wiser and stronger, as far as predators, so I have thought about letting them out of their enclosed area. If I open up the main door to the coop and let them have full access to the yard while i am home will l I be able to get them to stay in their enclosed area the rest of the time, or will they constantly be wanting to escape? Does anyone else have birds that are happy penned up as well as free? Thanks!
 

patvetzal

Songster
11 Years
Aug 12, 2008
174
8
134
Bancroft, Ontario
What constitutes " escape"? A trip to the garden, a wander into the bush? They will probably go anywhere they find interesting ( FOOD!!!), but will come back and lay in their nests and also at night or whit rains.
I took down our run as soon as we gave up on out tomatoes and beans....They headed to the garden ( it's right beside the run) and started scratching around. In a few days they will find their way into the hardwoods behind the compost pile but they won't go far. Once it snows they won't even leave their coop.
 

Im Barred up

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 6, 2012
54
3
43
New Brunswick
I'm not worried where they go in the yard, but more about the predators if I'm not outside with them when they are completely free. We have a pair of Eagles that soar alot, as well as a chicken hawk that I've seen numerous times. I have ropes strung across the top of the run to slow down an arieal assault, but if they are in the middle of the yard, they'd have no protection. I'm outdoors alot during the day, but there are some days when I'm not home that I'd like them to stay in the protection of their run...which if I'm not home and they escape I'm afraid the eagle will have a chicken dinner. As of right now they don't try to escape and are happy in the run...although they are getting some muddy spots with the cold fall rain and no new grass growth.
 

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