Raising chickens in wooded area

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lrobb88, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. lrobb88

    lrobb88 Chirping

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    Hi, I've kept chickens twice before but in an Urban setting in a back yard. I now live on extensive acreage in Western NC and while we have some pasture, it's primarily dense woods. The place I would love to put the coop is close to our cabin, where I would have a moveable poultry net run for the hens allowing forage on bugs, plants, etc (no grass here, though). I've read a lot of threads about people raising near woods and know that the chickens will utilize those areas, but how about almost exclusively wooded areas? I'm aware that predators could be an issue and will certainly consider that, but I also have quail here and have had no trouble so far. Any insight would be much appreciated!
     
    staceyj likes this.
  2. staceyj

    staceyj Enabler

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    Cappy may be able to give you realistic guidance here.
    She raises many kinds of birds on her forested property. She’s definitely an expert.
     
    ChickenObsession and lrobb88 like this.
  3. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Crowing

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    The forest floor is full of bugs, slugs, salamanders, worms and nutrients.
    I have one acre of lawn full of dandelions and clover. 5 acres of leaf covered forest with springs.
    They love to scratch through the damp leaves to find all those tasty treats.
    They only get 1 hour before sunset daily, weather permitting. But that's all they need. I've never bought them any mealworms or any other bug. Same with greens.
    They spend a few minutes grazing the weeds and grass before heading towards the forest edge. They don't go more than about five feet in. They browse along the edge.
    They head back to their pen around sunset grazing some more before heading into the coop.
    I didn't let them out of their 500 square foot pen till they were full grown. For about a week I had to show them the gate to get into the pen. The coop is in the middle back of the pen, and they tried to get to the coop through the fence the first few days. GC
     
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  4. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Songster

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    We are surrounded by 100’s of acres of wooded property. Not necessarily a “forest”, but most of it looks like this. Our coop/run is 16x48’ and sits under the trees to the left of the blue dot. Our 60+ chickens and guineas free range sunup to sundown regardless of the weather. The birds all enjoy going in to the woods to scratch and hang out in the shade. They utilize the trees to hide from hawks that come around frequently. We have lost some to coyotes and fox attacks, but our biggest losses were from my son’s dogs, until they were rehomed. He lives about 1/4 mile to the east and his dogs would get out and head here to play with the chickens. We have 4 dogs of our own who help keep most predators away, but they miss a couple now and then.
     
  5. lrobb88

    lrobb88 Chirping

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    Thanks all! I guess my question is more -- is it a PROBLEM if the chickens don't have any access to grass? Seems like no?
     
  6. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Songster

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    No. I’ve seen several people on BYC raising chickens in the desert with no grass in sight.
     

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