Large Free Range/Run

cibula11

Songster
7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
84
20
111
Iowa
For the last two years we've allowed our 14 hens to free range over our 2.5 acre property. We love to garden, landscape and also have a border collie who is beginning to herd our chickens. Since we can't really keep the hens out of our garden and landscaped spaces and our dog is getting the best of them too, I'm starting to think about a run instead of free range. However....

I want them to have as much access to our 1.5 acre pasture as possible, which is also used by our mini donkeys. While i don't envision making the entire pasture a "run" I'd like a solution to our newer issues. I used a 7' deer netting that worked most of the summer. It is cheap and comes in 100' rolls. I thought about using this and being able to move it around if I need to.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has a "giant run"?
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I would think the deer netting would work out good for the chickens, as long as you don't have any predators around. They would probably just push under it, to get at your birds. I have, I guess what some would call a big run. I have 650' of Premier's electrified poultry net surrounding the coop. My birds used to freerange all over the place, until the fox discovered them.
 

cibula11

Songster
7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
84
20
111
Iowa
I do have some predators, but they free range now and we have not lost a single bird. Most of our predators are nocturnal and the hens are in their coop when the sun starts to set. I mainly want them to have access to the good things about free ranging, yet confine them where they are not ruining my garden.

I will say my dog does keep them away from our landscaped areas. The hens tend to stay away from our home since we've added our dog.
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I do have some predators, but they free range now and we have not lost a single bird. Most of our predators are nocturnal and the hens are in their coop when the sun starts to set. I mainly want them to have access to the good things about free ranging, yet confine them where they are not ruining my garden.

I will say my dog does keep them away from our landscaped areas. The hens tend to stay away from our home since we've added our dog.

Good luck with them. I got away with freeranging for almost a full year. Then had two daytime attacks within a couple of months. The fox is a 24/7 threat.
 

cibula11

Songster
7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
84
20
111
Iowa
Yes, they would be where I live, but fortunately/unfortunately our biggest threat would be great horned owls and coyotes. Very few rabbits, squirrels, fox bc of the coyotes nearby. We haven't had any encounters as we are surrounded by fields (corn, bean), so there's almost no place to hide for them. They're around ,but not during the times our hens are out and about.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,334
126,555
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Depending on the size of your garden vs the size of their 'range' it might be easier to fence them out of the garden.
 

cibula11

Songster
7 Years
Mar 13, 2013
84
20
111
Iowa
Yes, that would be easier, but they also managed to find there way in, which is partly why my dog chases them. He's seen me chase the hens out of the garden and now does the same, just a bit more aggressively.
 

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