Is it cruel to have chickens if they can't free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Desirai, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. Desirai

    Desirai Chillin' With My Peeps

    830
    13
    133
    Oct 12, 2011
    Alabama
    I'm going to have a nice chicken coop and a nice sized run. I am only allowed 6 chickens.
    They won't be allowed to free range often, if at all.
    So even if I have a large run (I'm thinking 10 ft x 6ft) will they still be happy?
     
  2. TinyChickenLady

    TinyChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine don't free range. They have a nice coop and a very large run. They only use 1/4 of it and seem very happy [​IMG]
     
  3. gamelife

    gamelife Chillin' With My Peeps

    411
    20
    111
    Nov 6, 2011
    California
    They'll be fine. If you are really concerned about their happiness give some treats once in a while.
    You could put in some garden scraps or straw/hay to keep them from getting bored. They love to scratch
    around in it.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They adapt. Happy? I don't know. Contented? To our judge of it? Yes.

    The run needs to be larger than most folks think. It needs to be as large as possible, especially since that will be the extent and limits of their "world". Sure, it is in effect trading the small cage of the industry for what is essentially a larger cage, but still. Chickens can indeed adapt and be very contented in a Coop-run environment. Is it the same existence as a free ranged chicken? No. It is what it is. I'd not be concerned.
     
  5. ChickiKat

    ChickiKat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2011
    Eastern Kansas
    We don't free range unless supervised, and that is not as often as I would like. The seem happy in the large run we have. I give them scratch and treats everyday. It is cold today and the crazies have decided to stay in the coop.... Definately never a dull moment with chickens..... Enjoy your flock!
     
  6. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    I think as long as they have plenty of run around room and you keep fresh greens in as much as you can, cuz they will eat the crap out of the grass and all real quick if you do not have a mobile run... If its going to be stationary, they will be happy if they have something to keep them busy... Wood branches for perching, hay/straw to dig thru, fresh veggies, greens, to chow on... get some live crickets here and there and toss them in... HEEHEEE, thats always amusing to watch....
     
  7. ChickiKat

    ChickiKat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2011
    Eastern Kansas
    Crickets are a hoot. Or earlier this fall we had flying ants coming out of the ground. We allowed free ranging for that event!!
     
  8. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    4,154
    67
    278
    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I also only free range when I'm home and can supervise. We have too many hawks so when I hear the crows going nuts I run out to lock up the birds. They're almost always already in the run (but that wouldn't stop a hawK) so I close them up. I had 19 birds in a 10 x 20 run but I felt it was too crowded. I sold some birds and now have a dozen in there. It's easier to clean & gives them more space. If they don't get out for the day I usually try to provide an unexpected treat for them....except I think it's expected because they're always rushing me at the door! [​IMG] I think I my chickens have the good life.
     
  9. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,533
    13
    181
    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    I would definitely suggest making sure your run can fit YOU into it. What would be the use of keeping pets which you cannot be with?

    Many folks here also install cup holders inside their coop/runs, and hang a clean folding chair in there. I have a little milking 3legged stool to sit with them, and sometimes bring my knitting. Its nice in there. My youngest son can be found sitting with them, reading to them, when we can't find him anywhere else.

    Yes, I'd make sure your run is easy for you to walk in, maneuver your poopscooper in, clean in. Even if its a tractor.

    In this video, my hen jumped into my lap for a visit. Neither of us are very pretty, but its a good example of what sometimes happens when chicken's personalities come to light:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/6chickensinstcharles

    I hope your setup affords you space and time to relax and enjoy your birdies.

    Here's a picture of my current hoop and coop:
    [​IMG]

    After 3 years of trying many different ways, this is how it is today. I'm sure it will continue to morph. I hope yours STARTS better than mine did! [​IMG]
     
  10. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,533
    13
    181
    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Quote:Have you considered bantams instead of full sized chickens? They are funny pets and don't require as much space, and can fly, so their run can have different levels of perches to bop around on.

    These are eggs from our bantams. A little bit smaller, but they're great! Probably healthier to eat a teensy bit less of indulgences like fresh eggs, anyways:
    [​IMG]

    For perspective, this pullet is 3 months old, she won't get much bigger than this, but her eggs would be sold in the store as Medium:
    [​IMG]

    Bantams have lots of beautiful feather patterns, and come in all shapes and colors:
    [​IMG]

    Plus, fancy bantams might ease the neighbors' transition into living in close quarters with chickens known as "pets". They're special.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by