Letting chickens wander outside of the coop or run.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bearz, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. bearz

    bearz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2008
    We have 53 chickens which are just dying to get outside. I'm buying a run tomorrow...10 x 6...but I've been wondering if I could let the roos run loose? Thing is, I have 6 cats outside. They are good mousers but I've also seen them eat a bunny (!) so I know they aren't afraid of bigger prey. Will they eat the chickens? They show only passing interest when I have the screen door in the coop open all day. One lays about 10 feet away and watches them half the day. Sort of like kitty TV.

    Am I better off to just leave them in the run or will chickens peck and defend themselves?
     
  2. Hen Daddy

    Hen Daddy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2008
    Vancouver, WA
    dont worry about your chickens...they will take care of themselves with the cats. The cats will figure out quickly that chickens dont play nice. [​IMG] Go ahead and let your girls out too with the roos. They will enjoy it and get to eat some yummy bugs!

    We let our girls out to wander around for a couple hours every day. The rest of the time they spend in their run and they are okay with that.

    ~CAran
     
  3. bearz

    bearz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2008
    So how do you get them to come back?

    We live about a 10th of a mile from the road. Will they wander out that far? I don't want someone to have an accident trying to avoid my chickens.
     
  4. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    mine stay pretty close by, occasionally they cross the road to the neighbor but they come running back when i call them. And the road is only a few hundered yards from the house. They all go in to bed about 6pm, all on their own. If I want them in a little early I take my yellow treat bucket and toss a few treats in the run, Don the roo rounds every one up and in they go.
     
  5. gotchooks?

    gotchooks? Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    Before I decided to let them free range, I wanted to be sure I could round them all up fast if I needed to. There's a BIG black lab next door who drools and whines at the fence over my girls. I worried about what I would do if one ever flew over the fence. So... When I give treats, I call them with a quick staccato "CHOOK! CHOOK! CHOOK!" and it doesn't matter where they are or what they're doing, they all come running in a hurry. Works every time [​IMG].

    Good luck.

    ~jenn
     
  6. MamaDragon

    MamaDragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2008
    Camden, AR
    We've only got 1 roo, 8 hens, and 5 chicks.... and the 9 cats here have quickly learned that chickens "don't play fair!". Any time the cats have gone after the chicks, Mama AND the roo have given a lesson or two that they haven't forgotten. It only took a few days for all the cats to just ignore the chickens.

    Our chickens graze all around the cats and dogs, being chased and chasing back. The cats, and especially the kittens, will still stalk the chicks, but haven't been stupid enough to "go for it", Lately. One of the TomCats thought he'd give it a try.... saw him go round the coop, following Mama and chicks..... about ten seconds later he comes flying back, Mama in hot pursuit! He didn't learn the first time, and turned around to try again.... this time, the Roo joined the defense team, and the TomCat didn't stop running till he was up on the porch and climbing the screen door!

    The biggest threat to my chickens is the two Chihuahua egg-stealers that are the house dogs. They'll steal and eat an egg in a heartbeat!

    Our chickens are in an 8x10 coop with a 10x10 chain-link dog run attached. They're let out every morning to "run" the acre here, and put themselves to bed about sundown. If I forget to close them up, they'll go in and out until dusk, then they're ready to call it a night.

    We live along a major highway, with truck traffic, school busses, etc all day long. The first week we had them (got them as grown birds), they would wander close to the road, but the noise of the traffic would spook them back toward safety. I've never seen them get closer than 15-20 feet to either road (live on a corner).

    Chickens Ain't Stupid! Wish I could say the same thing about all the kids [​IMG]

    Kathy
     
  7. Chickybaby

    Chickybaby Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2008
    NC - paradise!
    My plan, at first, was to keep my chickens in a pen for safety sake. Well, they had another plan... Some of the girls were small enough to get through the wire, got out and they were fine. So I let the rest out and so far so good. Mine go all over the place, but always come back to the coop at dusk so I have no problem letting them roam. Mine even have been head to head with the horses and calves in the pasture, and only once have seen a confrontation - the horse went one way and chicken the other, FAST! I'm not thinking the chickens would have a problem with cats [​IMG] . And, with the chickens out of the pen it has cut my feed bill in about half... they'd rather be foraging anyway! Good luck!
     
  8. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    gotchooks? :

    Before I decided to let them free range, I wanted to be sure I could round them all up fast if I needed to. There's a BIG black lab next door who drools and whines at the fence over my girls. I worried about what I would do if one ever flew over the fence. So... When I give treats, I call them with a quick staccato "CHOOK! CHOOK! CHOOK!" and it doesn't matter where they are or what they're doing, they all come running in a hurry. Works every time [​IMG].

    Good luck.

    ~jenn

    thats funny....for some reason I found myself yelling "chick, chick, chick" in the same way. they come running when they hear it , especially if they see the yellow bucket i keep treats in​
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My chickens free-ranged until we moved them to the new coop and they will be free-ranging again as soon as they learn to go to their new home at night.
    I have a very small cat, 2 1/2 lbs., that was a feral when I found her at 3 weeks old. She is not afraid of the chickens and if one gives her a hard time she just goes after another. She brings home mice, squirrels, rabbits, moles, voles, you name it. She once brought home a rat that was twice her size. She's become an indoor cat during the day. Not all cats are afraid of chickens, so be ready for it; is all I'm saying.
     
  10. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

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    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    Quote:I think that you had best let the birds free range, despite the cats. 60 square feet of run for 53 birds is far too small. You could expect some severe pecking problems in short order in such a tiny space.

    Wayne
     

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