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In the fenced yard - will they stay in? go up in tree & out?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by limabean, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. limabean

    limabean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My six week olds moved into their new home today - nicely sized indoor coop and okay-sized outdoor run - though as they grow I think I will have to expand the run or reduce the number of birds....or, can I let them run the yard more than I think to give them that extra wiggle room? We have a 5-6 foot wooden privacy fence. I've been told they won't fly over that - but might they get up in the lilac tree in the corner and exit the yard that way? Or climb up the childrens' play structure and hop the fence from there?

    Also, related ....poop in the grass and children playing in the grass...thoughts?
     
  2. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Admire, KS
    I have 7 11 month old pullets I got last summer. I started letting them out of the tractor (4x9 total coop + small run) when they were about 7 weeks old. They have gradually worked up to being out in my (chain link) fenced yard most of the day when I'm home. Only one has ever left the yard. My feisty golden campine flew over the fence last fall and scared herself spitless. She ran along the fence and yelled at me to open the gate. Since then she hasn't even made a move to leave the yard. She and the EE are probably the only ones who could get the lift without having an intermediate step, but they stay in. We have a huge fenced yard, and they have a large run and a 6x8 coop, so they aren't crowded, but boy do they love being out in the yard and up by the house in my flower gardens.

    They follow me back to their run when I call them because they associate "here chick chick" with food. (and because they think I'm their roo)

    That said, I have 5 more 7 week olds in the tractor right now. Tomorrow will be their first day out. I'll let them out after the big girls go in for the day at suppertime and give them about an hour before herding them back in. The first night may be a deal (or it may be easy). With the first batch, only the campine was a problem (she's a pill -- and the dominant pullet in spite of her size). I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and I'm going to wait for my dh to be here to help if I need another pair of hands. I figure a yardstick in each hand held out to the sides will guide them where I want them to go. I hope. It worked last summer.

    I would wait until they had been in their coop and run for at least a week or two before trying it. They need to know where "home" is.

    Hmmm. poop in the grass. no opinion there. I suppose it depends on the age of the children.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  3. limabean

    limabean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for that description, Sharol. Especially thanks for the tip to not try it till they're "at home" in their new coop - hadn't thought about that.

    The kids - 2 and 5.
     
  4. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    You are right they will stay, with no problems.
     
  5. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2011
    The chickens may stay in, but if you have hawks in the area, they will gladly pounce on the birds at any opportune moment.

    Think air defense.
     
  6. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I might monitor the 2 year old. He/she might mistake the droppings for food (once). Certainly the 5 year old is old enough to understand "icky, have to wash hands." My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter will point at the dog poop in the yard that I failed to scoop and tell us it is nasty and we should pick it up. Touching it shouldn't hurt them, but putting their hands in their mouths might not be advisable [​IMG]. I am of the school that we sometimes overprotect kids to the extent that they don't ever develop natural immunities, though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

    Quote:
     
  7. limabean

    limabean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't seen birds of prey in the area, but I will keep an eye out during the period that I'm NOT letting the chickens out.

    Kids - neither will attempt to eat it, I am sure of that, but they may get some on their hands without realizing then, you know, pick their nose, handle their food, etc. I am by NO MEANS a clean freak with the kids - I'm in favour of lots of germs & dirt...but poop, well, it's poop. I guess what I wonder is, spread out over a yard that's about 1000 sq feet, how much will there be (6 chickens). We have other people's kids over alot too, and some of the families are not so germ-friendly. Hmmm.
     
  8. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Admire, KS
    Tough call. I see where you are coming from.

    Quote:
     

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