separate runs for different chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Shorty1071, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Shorty1071

    Shorty1071 Just Hatched

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    Hi there, I have had so many questions answered by old threads, but I have one I haven't come across yet.

    I have read that some chicken breeds specifically prefer free ranging, and that some are happier (or at least perfectly content) living in a run.
    Does anyone have their run sectioned off, so that some birds are able to go out and free range during the day while the rest stay in the run? I am considering doing this, especially for my silkies. I am concerned about them free ranging when I'm not outside right with them. They are so small, and we have lots of hawks out here!
    Also, Is it true that some breeds really need to free range, while others are happy in a run? If it makes a difference, the run will be extremely large.. I don't remember the exact measurements, but it will be more than large enough for 50+ birds, and I am starting out with 25.
    Thanks!
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Some breeds tolerate living in confined quarters with lots of other birds better than others. Just about every chicken on the planet will prefer free ranging over being confined to bare dirt run. Free ranging is not an essential part of keeping any specific breed.
    The key to keeping any chicken happy in a confined run is ample space and providing things to keep them occupied.
     
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure where you're located but I keep mine in secured runs due to numerous predators and a total lack of edible vegetation in my neck of the woods. I'd love to let 'em free range if I could but the risk/reward just ain't there. I have multiple setups and some take to confinement extremely well, like Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks. Others, namingly Leghorns are nervous by nature and I think would prefer being out and about, but they do well as long as there's enough room. It sounds like you'll have enough room from your description.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You may be better off to house the silkies separate.

    I don't think many folks would have birds housed together and let some out and keep some in, that sounds awkward to manage. Plus, silkies don't always get along with others, so their own housing may be more appropriate.

    Besides that, everyone likes to get out and about. But no one needs to.
     
  5. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like good advice here, all chickens prefer to have some time out, but do well in confinement as long as there is plenty of space for them to get away from each other. How many birds do you have? All same age? All same size/breed? Standard sizes and Bantams you may not want to mix and/or handle on a case-by-case basis since there is a big size difference. I thankfully have had good luck with my Banty Cochin being in with my big girls but this isn't always so. Likewise chickens of different ages may be different sizes and there could be scuffles etc. the confinement rule of thumb inside their coop, a.k.a. their sleeping space is a foot square per bird and 1 nest box per 2-3 hens. In a run, I like to triple that space at least. My girls spend their days out in a chain link dog run with a tarp tented over the top that is plenty big for them to run about and dust in. When I am home (and it isn't bloody snowing/raining non-stop for weeks *ahem!*) I let them out into the yard for about 1-2 hours during the day to forage. This allows them freedom to roam (my yard is also fenced) but when a couple hours has passed, I put them back in so they don't tear up my yard. It's easy to train chickens to come when you call, BTW. Cheers!!
     
  6. Shorty1071

    Shorty1071 Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your thoughts, so I suppose I will wait and see how it goes and handle it from there. I have six silkies coming first week of March and 17 large fowl pullets coming first week of April. I am hoping the silkies and LF will integrate well but if they don't, maybe I will build another small coop/run just for the silkies. We shall see! I am just trying to be as prepared as I can be for all possible scenarios!
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Silkies have done just fine fully integrated with the rest of the flock, which are all standard sized. I hatched them here and had some brand spankin' new, standard sized chicks as well, so they were raised together in the same brooder in full sight of the adults. Integration went off without a hitch, and they are just "part of the group." I have been a little surprised at how hardy they've turned out to be....I didn't plan on getting any Silkies at all, ever, but when my granddaughter looked at me with those big blue eyes I caved. <sigh> I'm a sucker for that girl! Now the Silkies go outside to free range right along with the rest of the flock, eat, drink, and sleep with the rest of the flock, and it still astounds me when I see them all out together in the snow. Silly chickens!

    But it sounds like your biggest concern with them being out is the predator problem, and the only thing that will really help you there is diligence when they are out. Your planned large run will help considerably there. I don't have any breeds that are specifically "labeled" as not tolerating confinement. As others have wisely said, all chickens enjoy a little free time away from the coop and the run and a good sized run with plenty of space to avoid one another and some distractions certainly go a long way to maintaining peace in the flock when free ranging isn't possible or practical. I just don't see any way, aside from totally separate setups, to consistently allow one group out and not the rest.
     
  8. Shorty1071

    Shorty1071 Just Hatched

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    Thanks! That is really helpful. So, maybe they will all just have to free range together, when I am home and able to keep an eye on them. Hopefully my silkies and LF will be able to stay together with no problems
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Well, remember that my Silkies didn't read the books, so I don't know if this is usual behavior for them in with standards or if mine are an exception to the rule! [​IMG] However, I've heard others say that theirs aren't as fragile as they first thought, too, so all you can do is try and then supervise, supervise, supervise! I must say, it does simplify life tremendously when you can raise and keep them together, but even within every batch of chicks and every breed, there are those who are just plain cranky, or timid, or sweet natured. The only guarantee in raising chickens is there is no guarantee! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  10. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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