Moving coop with free range chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by silarajc, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. silarajc

    silarajc Chirping

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    I am considering getting a "frypan" special of 25 birds, which looks like it is the cockerels from the dual-purpose breeds. I was thinking to make the coop moveable, so I could have the chickens foraging free-range in different areas of our 30 acres. I want to free range them, but if I built a chicken tractor with a run to keep them enclosed, I would have to build several or have them pretty crowded, or it would be too big to move.

    I was wondering if anyone knew if moving the coop a hundred yards every so often would confuse these guys too bad, or are they capable of recognizing that is their home and follow it.
     
  2. Wooden Eagle Farm

    Wooden Eagle Farm Chirping

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    We are planning on building a chicken wagon and using Premier fencing with the solar fencer for our meat birds. Not sure how it will go either but we bought the trailer and now going to start building the coop on it.
     
    aart likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    For that many birds, a secure 'wagon' coop is the way to go, built on a trailer or running gear and moved by some kind of vehicle(riding mower, utility vehicle, actual tractor, ATV, pickup truck, etc).
    'Tractors' get heavy fast and can be hard to secure against predators at night.
     
  4. silarajc

    silarajc Chirping

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    A big "wagon" type coop was what I was thinking...my question is, if I move it one day, will the birds follow it if it is still in sight, or will they get lost trying to get home to the exact same place it was in?
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    I would put the tractor inside a Premier 1 foot print. That way, you could move the entire 40 x 40 fencing once every week or two, along with the tractor. This would provide a layer of electrical security, as well as giving the birds a "home base" fenced area. I don't know how far you could move just the tractor without them getting confused. You might want to read some of Joel Salatin's work regarding his pastured poultry.
     
    aart likes this.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Wagon type setups I have seen operated. Ideally they will be well away from trees or other larger structures. If they have such they are likely to orient on those overiding drive to go to knew location of tractor. If no larger structures around, then you can move the tractor a good bit and they will find it. If lots of structures, then move the coop a little bit each day.
     
    jeepgrrl likes this.
  7. silarajc

    silarajc Chirping

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    Thanks for the help! I have had layers for almost a year in a stationary coop, but wanted something mobile for these meat roosters, and I just don't know enough about chicken behavior yet. I think moving the coop bit by bit is a good plan, we'll see about the fencing. Trying, of course, to keep things as cheap as possible for our summer residents. So far, the only predators that I've had problems with have been aerial. I hear coyotes close by, but they haven't gotten in the coop. I am hoping my dogs, who follow me to the coop every day, leave enough scent to warn them off of working too hard to get in.
     
  8. lcwmt

    lcwmt Songster

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    [QUOTE="-snip-
    I was wondering if anyone knew if moving the coop a hundred yards every so often would confuse these guys too bad, or are they capable of recognizing that is their home and follow it.[/QUOTE]

    My flock is much smaller than what you are planning. My hoop tractor/run was also smaller than what you are planning, but Yes! In my experience, the chickens recognize their home, follow it and are not confused when it moves.
    PS, we only moved the hoop run every 2-3 days, the chickens cooped up at night, free ranged when all was secure enough. They *know* the tractor run.
    We have aerial predators and coyotes but our two dogs manage to keep everything at bay. Good luck!
     
  9. squadleader

    squadleader Chirping

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    When I was researching my tractor, I watched several Joel Salinger YouTube videos. He's the originator of the of the big mobile chicken wagon, if I recall, well over a hundred birds.

    He moves it everyday, but only after all the birds are locked in for the evening.

    You never move the wagon, while the chickens are out.

    He says the birds will always return to the wagon, as long as it's still where it was when they started in the morning.

    That really makes sense because the birds are always going to start exploring from the wagon, working their way out, as they become more comfortable in the surroundings, thus making returning the same way natural in the evening.

    Based on his experience, there's no limit whatsoever on how far you can move them every day, a hundred yards or a hundred miles, makes no difference.
     
    jeepgrrl likes this.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Smaller distances do make a difference, that is why I was so particular about the environment.
     

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