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Let my people go?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jasoneflanagan, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. jasoneflanagan

    jasoneflanagan In the Brooder

    Nov 17, 2008
    Northeast Georgia
    I've got a flock of 14 hens (8 Speckled Sussex and 6 Delaware) that will be a year old in February. They are laying like gangbusters despite the cooler weather (just below freezing at night) and are generally happy.

    They have a spacious coop and a large run (100 X 70 ft.) that until recently was well covered in grass and weeds. As the bermuda has gone dormant, the grass (mostly common fescue) is getting a bit bare, and I'm wondering if I should open up the run and let them wander during the day.

    We have 3 acres surrounded on three sides by thick privet, sweetgum trees, etc. Our land borders a very busy road and there are two driveways onto this road from either end of the property.

    Since they've been confined to the yard for all of their lives, I'm wondering if they will stay fairly close to the coop if I let them out of the run or if I have to worry about them getting in the road.

    Anyone out there have any advice?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    From what I understand, they will stay close at first, and then move farther out - and I am betting those Delawares will be the big explorers.
  3. LyonFuzz

    LyonFuzz Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    South Lyon, Michigan
    At first, mine just hung around the outside of the pen. Now they walk all over the yard boldly:) I have 2 acres with quiet private roads on both sides and they have never ventured past them.
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Ours have access to the entire yard, though it is fully fenced. They explore to every possible corner of the yard (1/2 acre) and into the garage and/or house if it is left open. When we first let them free range, they found out they could fit between the wrought iron posts on the gate. They were quickly in the front yard (and we quickly added soldered metal screen across the entire gate!). And, I agree with joletabey...those Dels will be VERY curious...at least mine are!
  5. silkydragon

    silkydragon Songster

    Nov 1, 2009
    ohio valley
    i cant get my chickens to go into my field in the summer its like they recognize the grass line as some kind of barrier they will walk along the side of the road in the ditch but rarely actualy in the road
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Delawares are big foragers, so they will most likely range far and wide. I have one Speckled Sussex who also runs all over and then cackles and yells when she realizes that no one else is with her, LOL.
  7. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    It sounds like you have plenty of place for them to roam, but I would set up a fence; even if its just a real quick job that I planned on having temporary. One single visiting dog, can stop a whole lot of those eggs from coming in. And I don't know about the local laws where you are, but having farm animals contained is the absolute only requirement in my area. I have had my chickens run over by the mail truck in the past.
    I'm pretty much in the same shoes as you. I'm about to set up another fence for my chickens to have some grass. They pretty much have wiped out the goat pen and their run, so I cooped them and planted rye, but while it grows, I still have grass in other areas of my yard they can be eating.

  8. jasoneflanagan

    jasoneflanagan In the Brooder

    Nov 17, 2008
    Northeast Georgia
    Thanks for the advice, folks. I think I'm going to work out some kind of extension for their run while I get some winter stuff growing.
  9. Julie08

    Julie08 Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Let your people go for sure! start just before dark so they dont wander to far for the first while and see how it goes.

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