My chickens don't want to free range!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickenewbie18, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. chickenewbie18

    chickenewbie18 New Egg

    Jul 10, 2016
    Hi, I am new to this chicken business. My husband and I built a nice big chicken coop with an even bigger covered run. We both work and when we are gone, they stay in there. We have been letting them free range in the afteenoons. They began to get very brave and when the berries started blooming, they started wandering down towards the edge of our property by the street. Our neighbors have dogs and chickens and have made it known that their dogs will eat our chickens if they get a hold of them. Because of this, and the chickens' newfound bravery, we fenced off the entire backyard for them to "free range" in. We have 8 acres and they have a huge portion of that. The problem is they dont seem to like the back yard as much as the front (there are also berries in the back) and most of them tend to stay in the run most of the day.
    We feed them in the morning and at night. Are we maybe feeding them too much causing them to be lazy? Any ideas?
  2. CluckerCottage

    CluckerCottage Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, not feeding too much.
    I leave food out all day free choice for my birds..
    They know when they are hungry.
    Perhaps they are just not into the backyard free ranging yet.
    Give them time, as curiosity usually wins.
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    Do you by chance have meat birds? They never stray very far from the feeders.
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    How old are your birds?

    Mine are about 10 weeks old, have a nice big coop for the number of birds I have and while they also have a big yard to roam around in, they seldom venture more than 50 feet or so from home sweet home. Given the least little bit of concern, they all run home. About the only times they are active are an hour or two in early morning and about the same of an evening. The rest of the time, they are content to hang around the house plopped down in a huddle on the ground.

    I kept these birds mostly confined for nearly 2 weeks to make sure they were well grounded as to where home sweet home was, and then built a small outdoor playpen for them to come and go using the pop door for a couple more weeks, before opening it up and turning them out to roam around.

    I may have stunted "their growth" so to speak. Birds who roam around a whole lot more early on are probably a bit more bold than mine are. It may also hurt that except for some garden plants by the coop, the yard is mostly wide open and devoid of cover. They may feel safer with a covered place to retreat to vs. running around out in the open.
  5. CaitlinM

    CaitlinM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2014
    My chickens are free range with constant access to food as well no matter how much you feed them they still get in my garden or feel adventurous and wonder into the neighbors yard. We ended up putting up a fence. So far so good

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