Keeping free range hens in the yard ??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by luvs2ride1979, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. luvs2ride1979

    luvs2ride1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 26, 2011
    Sheridan, AR
    My Coop
    Hello all, new member here. I browsed the forums and didn't find any old threads with this topic, so I'm creating a new one.

    I am new to chicken ownership. I have a mixed flock of 12 birds; 9 were hatched first week of August and the other 3 the first of October. I am keeping the three young ones in a tractor, but I like my older girls to free range. So far, nothing has tried to get them, but we have free roaming dogs in my semi-rural neighborhood. We have lined the front yard and pasture (0.65 acres) fence with 3' netting. I had their wings clipped but they still manage to get out. Am I not clipping their wings right maybe? I did just one side.

    I have a mixed flock of California Whites, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Wellsummers, Ameraucanas, and the young ones are Speckled Sussex.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    I've said it before, but it's true. Just free range the chickens you don't mind losing.

    (It's a corollary of "Just floss the teeth you want to keep")
     
  3. luvs2ride1979

    luvs2ride1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 26, 2011
    Sheridan, AR
    My Coop
    I prefer the taste of free range eggs. A friend of mine has a flock of 14 that she free ranges on her 5 acre property and they are some of the best eggs I have ever had. Moving their tractor around would help a bit, but I don't have enough flat land to keep them in fresh ground all the time. If there's nothing I can do to keep them in, then I'll guess they'll learn to stay in after the dogs chase them a few times.
     
  4. sherylreno

    sherylreno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to say [​IMG] along with some help.

    You did right the way you clipped their wings. Chickens can jump over 4' so the 3' foot stuff will not keep them in. The chickens will not stay in once they get attacked, they'll keep going out there and will get attacked over and over. You either let them fend for themselves or get protection so they can free range in safetly. I prefer the safer way for my flock, I know we may have an attack someday but so far so good. I only have issues with a neighborhood cat trying to get them.
     
  5. luvs2ride1979

    luvs2ride1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 26, 2011
    Sheridan, AR
    My Coop
    Good to know. My fences are 4' all around, so I could put more mesh up, but if they can just hop on to the top rail, that really doesn't help me any... Well, darn! If we lose any, I guess I'll get go with supervised free ranging and leave them in the tractor most of the time.
     
  6. New2TheCoop

    New2TheCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few thoughts on this... Have you thought about getting a more "flighty" bird? If you can catch them, then a preditor surely can. Also have you thought about not clipping their wings? If they are getting out anyways, atleast they could get to higher ground. I have had my chickens since last Feb & have lost 4 to preditors, every time it was while they were free ranging. And each time I found the remaining chickens ontop of the coop, which is about 12 feet in the air. Just a few things to think about
     
  7. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    Well free ranging is good and all but I consider it quite risky. My chickens have a coop, then they have they're own fenced in yard behind it, with weeds dirt and all that good stuff. I think its better than a run, cuz runs seem so small and confined havinga roof and all, and safer than free range, because the yard has 6' fencing plus they have the coop to go to if anything bad happens. To me having a chicken yard is just like having a little chunk of free range, but having a tractor is pretty much the same thing and even better cuz u can move it around. Anyways, u did good cliping one wing, I clip one too but they always manage to get on high places [​IMG]
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I have had chickens for 8 months. Mine could fly up on my 4 ft. chainlink fence and then fly over into my yard to be chased by my dogs. I found that putting something along the top of your fence that they can't land on like netting or a flimsy wire will deter them from perching up on my fence rail which is how they were getting over. I also clipped 1 wing, but that did not slow them down. I have 42 inch tall fence netting that works great to keep them inside now.
     
  9. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can get attached to birds & one things for sure everything likes to eat chickens. Chickens hate to be cooped up. You wake up & know they want out but so do the predators. Lord its tough.
     
  10. SouthernBYChickens

    SouthernBYChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've learned that after a dog gets the taste of the chicken blood, they will never leave your chickens alone. You need to find a way to make sure that never happens or you'll continuously have problems with the dog(s).[​IMG]
     

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