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I'm curious - How far do free range chickens venture from the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SouthernBornOUFan, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. SouthernBornOUFan

    SouthernBornOUFan In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Working on coop plans the last few day and moving on to the run. I'm moving on to 3 acres MOL and was wondering how far the chickens would roam away from their coop? The land is fenced, chain link one side, 5ft chicken type fence on the other side and the front and back are just 3ft which is one of the 1st things I'm going to fix and put up 5ft chicken fence.

    However I do plan to clip wings but I know they can still jump like a Georgia tree frog and was worried that if they got to far away something bad would happen. Do they stay semi close to their coop or are they going to run off in the woods all day and I have to hope they all return? The property has lots of nice trees and even a large manicured coy pond to keep them busy.

    (Sorry if this is the wrong place, this is a management issue to me lol)

  2. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    I have six acres and let mine out for a couple of hours in the evening. Mostly they stay within the confines of the yard, which isn't fenced but I have woods on all sides of me. They have started going a little further as time goes on. They've roamed a couple or three acres away from the coop. I have had to go into the woods to get them at dusk before too. I've seen a fox at my pond, not common where I live, but with so much clearcutting going on, I've even had deer in my backyard. I digress....the fox scares me more than anything.
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I have mine only on about a half acre ish......fenced....they don't seem interested in going any farther. I have a 4 foot fence and my deck gate is only about 3 feet and they still don't bother trying to escape. They enjoy digging in the large planters, napping under the bushes, and putting around the yard. I have had mine out for probably 6 months or more, and they have been fine.
  4. We sit smack in the middle of about 20 acres (I have 3+ and my FIL has the rest). My chickens have a coop attached to a 20x20 run, but when I let them free range they probably stay within an area of maybe 1 acre. Even from the house I can always see them
  5. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Hi SouthernBorn! My clucks stay in my fenced backyard. They are standard fowl and most of the breeds** I have are too heavy to enjoy jumping up on top of the 4' fence, although they do sometimes. I've clipped one wing on the few lighter girls (brown leghorn and EEs) that seem to more easily jump up, and that has worked for me. I know you're excited about your upcoming move to a few acres - congratulations!

    **Here's the list of breeds I have that don't seem interested in roaming outside their confines. I chose these breeds for color mix and egg production, and I'm very happy with them.
    -Barred Rocks
    -Rhode Island Reds
    -Black Australorps
    -Buff Orpingtons

    Good luck!!
  6. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oakland, CA
    I live in Oakland, CA and sometimes I swear my chickens are Houdini himself.

    They've got a 16 X 20 run space and they often times are let loose to free range in our (and our neighbor's) backyard. (about an acre combined.) They like to go on adventures down the street though. It's quite a sight to see me leading back 4 hens to my yard with a trail of scratch. Luckily they've always stayed on our block and I've had to accidents involving vehicular fowlslaughter.

    The kids at the school across the street think it's hilarious. I'm oftentimes less than amused by my escape artist roaming flock...

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2010
  7. applefalls

    applefalls Songster

    Feb 25, 2009
    Cockeysville, MD
    I think it depends on what breeds you have. My flock stays pretty close to my house, and most of mine could not hop a fence like yours. But I have two Easter Eggers who can fly pretty high and tend to wander pretty far away from the others, practically shouting "I'm an easy target for hawks and anyone else interested in a free meal!!"[​IMG]

  8. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Songster

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    Don't clip their wings just yet! I live on 7 acres and we fenced in about 2 acres around the house. The chickens stay within that area. Although they can easily jump my fence, they never have and don't seem to have an interest in doing so. My fenced area does go into the woods in a few places and they'll go there and scratch around or lay in the shade on summer days. They all come back to the coop to lay eggs and return every evening to roost. I let mine out of the run from early morning till dark (except now in the winter due to snow cover).

    The only trick is to make sure they understand were "home" is. They should be throughly familiar with their coop and run area. When you first let them out, do it late afternoon so they won't go far and return at dusk.
  9. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Mine cover about 3 acres (out of 6 available), open and wooded so they have variety. Often, I have to go find them. I herd mine with a 10' white PVC pipe. They know what it means and don't fight it. Within the confines of our fairly large back yard, they would not hesitate to go over the chain link fence to get onto the acreage. So I put up deer netting to keep them on the yard until I was ready to let them out farther. What this all means is that once they are on a large enough area, they don't seem to want to go over a fence at all. I have a neighbor with standard chain link fence along my acreage. They have never gone over the fence to leave the acreage to get into his yard (or back into mine)...only go over it to gain access. They are interesting.
  10. MudPie

    MudPie In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2009
    Htuos Lartnec Anatnom
    I don't think you should worry about it too much. They become more and more comfortable over time and will roam further. They will go as far as they want, 4 foot fence or 12 foot fence. People who say big bird can't fly, just haven't seen the big bird fly. I have. I have about a 2 acre enclsoure, and they are free to roam 24x7. They roam the entire area. Once in a while they go over the fence, but they come back. My vet, has no fencing, except 4 strand barb wire for cattle/horses. His birds are open to roam for miles. Once a bird accepts the coup as the safe place, they will return to it. I've seen my birds fly into the yard as a pack, from a long ways off after soemthing scares them. they head right for the coup.

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