My free-rangers don't "range".

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TessK, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. TessK

    TessK Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    We live on a corner lot on 6 1/2 acres of wooded, wild, overgrown land. Our land is a rectangle with our house and driveway in the front corner. We have 23 chickens in a garden shed that we transformed into a coop. It's too close to the house in my opinion, considering the amount of land behind and to the side of us, but that's where the shed was and the husband wasn't going to move it. Admittedly, it's much more convenient to walk there. :D

    The coop's door opens in the back, facing the lovely and chicken-enticing acreage of bugs and foliage- or so I'd think. Instead, they'd much rather hang around my miniscule front yard. While I'm not too upset about a sidewalk full of poop (I don't LIKE it but we have chickens and chickens poop, so there you go), they are also now beginning to wander out of the front yard and into the road. IN the road. And sit there. Or go across the road (Why did the chicken cross.... Ah, nevermind) onto the neighbor's land. I have tolerant neighbors and we're all in tune with country living, but I hate to push my luck.

    Not to mention that we have a fair amount of foot traffic. People walking their dogs, kids riding bikes, etc., etc. and I'm worried that if the chickens stay in that area, I'll have a problem with my roosters getting too defensive of "their" territory. Our neighbor recently put down his rooster for attacking his own kids, so now I'm paranoid I'll have a rooster attack and get sued by an angry parent!

    I cannot for the life of me figure out why they won't forage behind the house where it has everything a chicken could possibly want. But the road? Seriously? What is in the road that is so enticing? I don't feed them anywhere but in the coop. They free range all day and always put themselves to bed at dusk. They aren't laying yet (not old enough, they are about 3 months old).

    I have thought about putting up a fence just to try and funnel them in that direction, but I know how well chickens can cross a fence. I was hoping someone might have an idea on how I can entice them to explore the great beyond rather than the stupid road. Would it help if I put their food out there instead of in the coop? Will anything help? lol.
  2. silkiefluff

    silkiefluff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2013
    NS, Canada
    I would say move the coop back or get a fence around it. My flock did the same thing except they would hang out within 2 metres of the coop and go no further.
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    As you suspect the coop is the center of their world. Moving it would be a start. There may also be a problem with the height of the ground cover out back. Chickens don't love high grass, it is a place where predators can hide and they know it. If they have a choice of high grass and lawn they will use the lawn and just skim around the edges of the high grass. They do like bushes to hide in, but the good eats are quickly gone under them. Consider mowing areas out there every couple of weeks. To get them out there use a feeding station at the edge and slowly move it deeper to where you want them.
    1 person likes this.
  4. TessK

    TessK Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    Oh, I didn't know that about the high grass. I bet that has a whole lot to do with it as it's pretty high out there. Thanks!
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I agree with that, my birds wouldn't go in high grasses. Use a weedeater or simlar to make a few paths for them, to get them started. I'd weedeat then scatter some scratch to entice them out that way. They're creatures of habit and it may take a while to break them from the road, but it should be able to be done. Might need to weedeat some larger areas for them, also.

    Not to be an eanbler or anything (doncha know chickens are a gateway livestock [​IMG] ), have you thought of a goat or something like that? That's a lot of land to be just overgrown. If it were me, I'd have a few goats. And a couple pigs. And once the pigs had cleared some land I'd put a beef calf out there. And then some turkeys, cause they love the woods. And then I MIGHT stop lol.

  6. TessK

    TessK Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    I've mentioned goats and pigs and cows to my husband (and by mention I mean 'planted the seed', lol), he's slow to come around to this livestock business. It took me 4 years to convince him chickens would be awesome. Now he's smitten. Yay for progress.

    My only hesitation with a goat is the lack of fencing on our property and my dislike of animals being tethered on a chain. I'm not imagining the goat being content to hang around the yard- unlike the chickens, lol.
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    If you get a goat and tether it on a chain you can solve the problem both you and your chickens have with high grass.

    Don't even think of your goat as being a goat. Instead Imagine it being a renewable bio fuel powered weed eater.

    If you think that chickens fly the coop or leap tall buildings in a single bound you'll be amazed at how easily goats can escape over the highest fence

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