1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Moving Chickens to Free Range.....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by organictoon, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. organictoon

    organictoon Out Of The Brooder

    30
    1
    24
    Jan 6, 2016
    Alright, this will be my first post to the forums and I have found an INVALUABLE amount of information available to start my first chicken venture, so thanks to all previous and current members and the moderators for making this all possible. Now to my question:


    I have just recently acquired 4 acres of land in Fort Worth Texas having said that my intentions are to start the Chickens first and here are my plans for review after research:


    1. I am going to be utilizing a very well built structure that the previous owner was using for salt lick for her livestock which is 8ft Wide x 16ft Long:

    - I will be doing 2x4's staggered ladder style for Roost space
    - I would like to get as many chickens as possible in there (30 is the goal for happy chickens)
    - I will be utilizing a trenching method around ALL sides burying the 1/4 inch hardware cloth about 12-16 inches deep for digging predators.
    - The run will be 8W x 30L x 8ft H with 1x2 welded wire on top and 4 ft on the sides from the top with the bottom remaining 4 ft being 1/2 inch hardware cloth and the bottom trenched the same as COOP.
    - I will utilize Hay for the bedding and drop boards under the roost initially for Poopies and later switch to chipped wood when funds provide for a decent chipper.


    2. Now my question that remains is:

    - I do intend on letting them free range during the day in my very LARGE backyard which has very secure 4 foot fences and tons of tree forage above to help with birds of prey (hawks present in sky commonly). The only issue is I have a distance of about 150 feet from my backyard to the COOP/Run and would like to know what is the best/economical and efficient way to transport the chickens that short of a distance? I feel like it would take forever for them to corral from the COOP/Run into a chicken tractor of any sort just to move them 150 feet.

    Thanks for any advice or guidance on my plans in advance!
     
  2. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,192
    418
    228
    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Sounds like you have a good start, with a nice building, and a big yard/area for the chickens. Instead of building a wood framed, hardware clothed run, look into some electrified poultry net, to surround the run and coop.

    https://www.premier1supplies.com/fencing.php?mode=detail&fence_id=93

    You could surround a much larger area for less $$$s, than the wood and hardware cloth would cost. And it;s waaaay easier to set up. I've been using this stuff for 4 yrs, and it's still going strong, and I have not lost a bird to a ground predator since I put the fence (Netting) up.

    I'm not sure I totally understand what you are saying about transporting the chickens 150'. They, at the end of the day, are going to transport themselves back to the coop to roost. You won't have to do anything but close the gate to the fence, and maybe the pop-door to the coop.
     
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,245
    376
    218
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Pictures always help us give better thought out responses.
    The coop will hold 30 hens. The bigger problem will be your unbearable summers. Air flow, open sides or windows, light... are going to be just as important. Your run is on the small size.
    150' is about the max that my chickens range from the coop. They will return a few times a day to lay, eat and just chill. You can easily move the flock with food. Just do the Hansel and Gretel trick. They will return to the coop on their own at dusk.
     
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

    22,728
    2,910
    428
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I'm a little confused, but that notwithstanding, here goes.

    1. They will very quickly learn where the coop backyard is and vice versa and will happily go back to the coop at dusk.
    2. If that doesn't work for you then you could consider constructing a small semi-circular hoop walkway from one to the other.

    If you do the latter I'm not sure where your hens would lay unless you leave the walkway in situ thus giving them access to the coop.

    If I have misunderstood you, then please explain a little more if you wish.

    Cheers
    Ct
     
  5. organictoon

    organictoon Out Of The Brooder

    30
    1
    24
    Jan 6, 2016
    Please let me know if more pictures would help, if you notice, the property is simply surrounded by 4 foot high cattle panels which is not any good for the known/confirmed predators I have around, possum, raccoon, coyotes.




    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. organictoon

    organictoon Out Of The Brooder

    30
    1
    24
    Jan 6, 2016
    Another thing that I failed to mention is that my wife stays home and I work from home all but one day a week as well.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    19,512
    2,547
    438
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First I suggest using an apron for digging protection instead of burying the wire straight down, especially if your ground is rocky. You lay maybe 18” of wire horizontal and attach that to the bottom of your coop and run, them bury it maybe 2” under sod to keep it out of your lawn mower or weed eater. The idea is that a digging predator goes up the fen fence, digs hits he wire, and does not know to back up. It’s extremely effective and a lot easier to install in rocky ground.

    My question is what is in the 150 feet between your coop/run and the backyard? Why is that area off limits to them? Knowing that might spark an idea.

    I understand funds are limited since you mentioned funds, but CT’s idea of a covered tunnel makes a lot of sense. They will find their way to where they want to be and have reasonable predator protection. They can return to the coop to lay if they want to. Other than potential cost and maybe it will interfere with your getting around, the main drawback I see is that grass and weeds will likely take over in there. You may need to remove it occasionally to mow.

    Something separated like that sounds really inconvenient. I like reusing buildings for a coop, I did that myself, but in the long term would you be better off building a new coop in a better location? Mine was also a loafing shed to start with.

    I just saw your photos. I think your concern is predators. Fox, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, possum, and practically any predator can climb or jump over a 4’ high fence. JackE’s idea of electric netting or electric fencing (my preference looking at that) sounds really good to me.
     
  8. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,192
    418
    228
    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    That building will make for a great coop. Being that you are in TX, You could use some 2X4"s, frame that front opening, cover with hardware cloth, and have an awesome open-air type coop. Maybe cut some extra vents up by the roofline to help with the summer heat. Surround the whole thing with electrified poultry net, and don't worry about the ground preds.
     
  9. organictoon

    organictoon Out Of The Brooder

    30
    1
    24
    Jan 6, 2016
    JackE,

    The barn that you see up the hill does have power but my preference is generally solar or a battery so I don't have to keep running wires everywhere. What would you recommend I use for the size of netting and solar charger based on your link I think I like the battery option best: https://www.premier1supplies.com/detail.php?prod_id=127243&cat_id=162 or is that not enough for my predators? Also I do have some feral cats that I feed to keep the mice/rat population at bay which cycles through the snakes, etc. There is also a fully stocked 1/4 acre pond at the end of my property that just about any dang animal/predator loves to sip from. I have just confirmed what I am dealing with thus far with a nature cam and just listening at night.

    RidgeRunner: I have definitely thought about that approach because I could EASILY place a small welded wire tunnel structure from the COOP to my backyard with ease or not even need it with the run that is already between my house and the land. Also, the soil is 20-36 inch sand on top and clay after that, digging is VERY easy, for me and most likely predators. Picture below:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    From the non-weight bearing post to the right side is a 11 ft wide section and the gate is a 12 foot, I periodically use this area to go through with UTV and tractors to get stuff done so the COOP max width is 10 ft and the length probably about 300 ft or I suppose I could just build one and replicate them (triangle style coops) with open air. That blue tarp is one of my compost piles as well. I will also be getting LGD's in a few years to run around the entire fence perimeter at night.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  10. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,192
    418
    228
    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I have 650' of PermaNet, with the double spikes. It has the thicker/heavier duty poles, so if the fence is installed right, it does not sag. I have the Kube fence charger (Also bought from Premier). I ran the electric down, (200 ft) to the coop myself, with a little help from my tractor to dig the trench. My fence has a charge of 8000Vs. Any predator gets his nose into that, they forget all about chicken dinner. They just want to get away, far away from what just bit them. I don't know much about the solar chargers. But if you call Premier, they can tell you everything you want to know.

    Here's a pic: Notice the pole in the corner. Premier sells them, and they are great for supporting the corners of the fenceline.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by