Limit Wanderings of Free Range Flock??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dmvelez, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. dmvelez

    dmvelez Hatching

    Oct 15, 2014
    We're new to chicken ownership--live outside the city limits in a suburban area, 8/10 of an acre lot so I CAN'T afford to fence it. My problem is our 5 hens have taken to ranging from their coop, PAST our house, and invading the neighbor's front yard, planting areas and front porch rather than utilize the greater part of our lot that's adjacent to their coop. Picture their coop roughly in the center of our yard with our house to the left and lots of awesome suburban landscape (but admittedly little cover) to the right.

    I need ideas on how to dissuade them from crossing over my driveway into my neighbor's yard. I've purchased a bobble head owl decoy and 'posted' it in the small sliver of yard between my driveway and the "off limits" neighbor's yard. I've read reviews that they don't scare away hawks or pidgeons (as they're often sold for bird and garden critter control) but I'm really hoping it will scare my chickens! Haven't had a chance to see their reaction to it yet, if it doesn't work, it's going back to the hardware store where I bought it.

    Electric poultry fence is a little pricey for what I can afford right now too, and I'm not wild about having to move it every time we need to mow. The neighbor doesn't respect the lot line when HE mows, so until I can afford to put up a proper picket fence, I really can't string up a temporary chicken wire fence there either. Let's face it, this is the burbs and what your yard LOOKS like matters.

    The owl was literally the only thing I could think of, if it doesn't work, perhaps a kite that looks like a hawk (saw some on Amazon.) Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    You will need fencing, and depending on your breeds, maybe high fencing. I have woven wire fencing about 4.5 ft. high, and my birds are good about not flying over it. You might be able to fence the lot line on that side or your yard without totally enclosing your yard, to discourage your birds in that area. Also, start planting trees and shrubs around the yard and coop area for the flock. Chickens are jungle animals that really want to be under cover that way. Also, select breeds that aren't noted to range far or be good flyers. Mary
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    There doesn't really seem to be any way to boundary train a chicken without using a physical barrier, you have to either fence them in or out. Even things that scare them only work for so long. If you don't want to do poultry netting, have you considered a chicken tractor that you move around the yard?
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I really think that every coop needs a run. An area attached to the coop, because there are times when you should not free range, yet birds are healthier if they get outside each day.

    If you had a run, well you could free range when you were home to guide them back to where they are suppose to be. Also, although others do not have this experience, the more often I free range, the farther they go from the coop. So if they are getting too far away, I just leave them in the run for a while, and then when I do let them out, they stay closer to home.

    Mrs. K
  5. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    We had a similar issue. 2 Acres to roam, and they insisted on going into the neighbors yard instead.

    I set up a crappy chicken wire and wooden stake fence. They CAN fly right over if they want, but 99% of the time they don't bother. They just range toward the fence, notice that they would have to put in a little effort to fly over, and decide to turn around and go the other way instead :)
    1 person likes this.
  6. dmvelez

    dmvelez Hatching

    Oct 15, 2014
    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

    As expected the owl was a flop (the chickens walked right past it, but it did freak out the cat!). We will look at running a fence up the lot line on that side since that seems to be the area where they cause trouble. I'm hoping my chickens will be like ShockValue's and decide it's not worth flying over, cause I don't want to clip their wings (occasional stray dogs and I want them to be able to fly to safety if necessary). Also, I'm planting more shrubs for next year.

    What seems to be working the best right now is keeping them confined in their run until mid-afternoon. When I let them out a few hours before 'bedtime' they seem to enjoy ranging close to home and don't seem to feel the need to wander so far away.

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