Questions about free ranging logistics...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MoonAngel12, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. MoonAngel12

    MoonAngel12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2009
    Central NC
    Currently my 5 hens have a good size coop and a small-ish run that is totally dirt at this point. DH converted a shed and built the run a couple years ago for my valentine's day gift (we're weird, I know) so I didn't have much say in it. The more I research on here, the more I want something else for them. I am getting 5 more hens so I know I will need more run space for them. Currently they are in our old house's backyard (just next door), but I want to get them closer. It would make feeding and watering much easier, plus I would just like to be able to enjoy them more throughout the day. We do have neighbor dogs, but the ones that roam have been taken care of by other neighbors who I guess got tired of them (one killed my DH's grandparents cat, then came over chasing ours and attacked our Suburban in the process b/c the cat went in the engine area). The only things I have seen lately is another family member's goats so I don't think they will mess with them. We built a hoop house for a run area, but what DH built to use for a coop is smaller than what I had in mind so I was just thinking about putting it inside the hoop house and making that the "coop" essentially and letting them free range for most of the afternoon. I already bought a BB/pellet gun to have on hand just in case I need it [​IMG]. Aside from potential predators, my other biggest concern is the poop. We have 3 young children (3, 2, 13 weeks) and so I don't want the whole yard or their toys covered in poop. Is there any way to prevent that, or is that pretty much a given for free ranging? I really don't want to invest in a big fenced in area b/c part of our reason for wanting them to free range is for bug control (lots of ticks and ants/fire ants). I got the 5 extra hens this year so that I could let them roam a bit more without having to worry as much about losing one or two if something were to make it into our yard. I plan on adding a few more each year, too. I guess I am just rambling as I "talk" it out... any tips or pointers would be appreciated!
     
  2. KFox

    KFox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2011
    There is going to be chicken poop everywhere. Mine free range during the day on an acre. I don't notice the chicken poo in the yard much unless all 14 were in the same place for quite a bit of time. What I do notice is when they decide to beg for scraps at the back door. I have to spray the deck off daily.
     
  3. MoonAngel12

    MoonAngel12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:Our house sits right smack in the middle of an acre lot, the other house has it's own acre, too - so two acres total (their old coop will be on the other acre so I am thinking at least my older hens might stray that direction). Half of the back yard is a hayfield along with the other lot on the other side of us (confusing I know) so they would probably have a blast "hunting" in there. One thing I hadn't thought of is that they use chicken manure on it for fertilizer... it comes from some of the Tyson type places I think. How long after they spread it until it would be "safe" to let mine out again?
     

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