Pen or freeroam?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by into_my_web, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. into_my_web

    into_my_web Songster

    Jun 20, 2009
    The other day we lost a few baby chicks to a mink and we thought they would have possibly gotten away if it weren't for the fact that they were in a wire pen. If we let our chicken free roam would they be more likely to escape predators?
    Can anyone share any of their experiences with free roaming chickens?

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It goes two ways, though. The pen might have got a few stuck, but free range, opens up a world of other preds that can still come and wipe out the flock.

    I've lost a few cornered in a pen, and I've lost a few by just them roaming freely. From a mink, likly penned or not, it would have probably gotten it in the end anyways. Safest would still be the pen, if you could beef it up so nothing can get in.

    In sort, it would be more likely to have escaped, but the attempts by predators made on the birds would be much higher.
  3. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    Pens are great when you cannot watch them 100% of the time but you need to use 1/2 hardware cloth to keep out all predators. You also need to have the wire buried at least 12" underground, a wire skirt around it or have a solid bottom. If you have a solid cement bottom then put at least 4-6 inches of dirt, wood chips or playground sand over it to cushion their feet and allow them to scratch around. Its a bit of work and cost more money but it keeps them safe [​IMG] and keeps rats from getting their feed too!

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