Question regarding free range chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jmeeter88, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    Say I let my chickens roam my entire property (2 acres). Is that too much room? More specifically, will the chickens get lost or forget where their food and nesting boxes are?
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    We have 7 acres mostly fenced, with the highway being about 300 or so feet down the drive way to the opening where our house is. Free ranged 10 years now without a problem. All go home and most lay in the box with an occasional egg nest in the middle of nowhere.
     
  3. beckyloveschicks

    beckyloveschicks Out Of The Brooder

    85
    0
    39
    Jul 9, 2008
    NC
    My chicken free range on my 1 acre fenced with no problem. There's actually nothing keeping them in the fence since it's livestock fence and only 4ft high (it's mostly for the goats). But for the most part they all stay where I want them too.
     
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    When you first move them to the hen house, keep them inside for about a week. When you let them out, they'll know it is a safe haven and return to the hen house.
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    16,224
    672
    396
    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I have an area fenced in off their run. I have had foxes, cayotes, racoons around, and a neighbor who free ranges freely on her property has had several taken during the day by cayotes.
     
  6. stacym

    stacym Chillin' With My Peeps

    105
    1
    111
    Jul 21, 2008
    Kennard, Nebraska
    My dad has fifty RIR's on ten acres of land. They will come back and roost in their chicken house and they really don't wander too far. (They only use two acres of his land at most) One thing that he does is he doesn't let them out right at the crack of dawn. He lets them go at about noon because otherwise they will lay their eggs elsewhere. Another reason is chickens love to dig, and with fifty they can really dig big,deep holes.
    He has raised chickens for 40 years and this works for him. Hope that helps!
     
  7. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    Thanks everyone for the great responses. :]
     
  8. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    3,788
    12
    221
    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I've got 40 acres and my chickens stay within a few hundred feet of their coop. They always go back to roost in the coop at night.

    I agree though, that you need to keep them locked up for at least a week before letting them out so they know exactly where 'home' is.
     
  9. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    By 'locked up' do you mean restricting their pen to a range of 10 feet around the coop?
     
  10. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

    10,060
    200
    361
    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Locked up as in keep them in their new coop for about a week or more so they learn it is home.

    My chickens are in several coops, some side by side in the barn. One coop has about 16 Cochins and various mixes in it and I let them out with the other coop next to them which is 67 14 week old chicks.
    They barely roam an acre but will venture a little farther as the bugs and grasses get eaten. Every night at twilight they all go back to their own coops to roost for the night but I am always down there filling up feeders and watering before dusk to make sure everyone is back safe from their foraging.

    I was scared to death when I first let the chicks out but they have been great to stay near their coop and tear into it if a flock of geese or an airplane comes over![​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by