Should I let my chickens roam my backyard?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Janay, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Janay

    Janay Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    2
    81
    Feb 25, 2013
    Cape Cod, MA
    My Coop
    Hi,
    I am going to get 7 Red Star chicks tomorrow, my first batch of chicks!! I have a medium-sized backyard completely fenced in. The fence is a little less than 4 ft tall. We want the chickens to roam through the backyard (and eat all our ticks!). But I don't want them getting into our neighbors' yards. We have the road on one side and three neighbors on the other three sides. So my question is: should I let them roam the backyard? Or will they jump the fence? And I've heard that they come back to the coop at night. I know my neighbors won't want chickens in their yard. If they get over, will they be able to jump back before night? Or do I need to go after them?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I haven't had them but I think stars are light egg layers so may also be good flyers.
    You can top the fence with an inward leaning netting that they won't want to sit on.
    Most people probably would be annoyed with chickens (not theirs) eating their garden.
     
  3. Cotton42

    Cotton42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    558
    41
    128
    Feb 23, 2012
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Yes, they will probably hop your fence and yes, they will come back to roost at night (baring any accidents or predators). I have 20 chickens in my backyard and at the moment 2 of them are happily digging up the neighbors garden beds. [​IMG] I have great neighbors though. Keep in mind that with "free ranging" in the backyard you're more likely to lose chickens to predators, I just lost 2 last week to a hawk.
     
  4. Janay

    Janay Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    2
    81
    Feb 25, 2013
    Cape Cod, MA
    My Coop
    ChickenCanoe, what do you mean by "light layers"?
    Thank you both for your advice. It sounds like I probably shouldn't let them out...I will have a run attached to the coop, but I thought it'd be better for us and for them if they were able to go around the whole backyard.
    Thank you!
     
  5. bentech

    bentech Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    32
    Feb 25, 2013
    I also want to let the my chicken free in my backyard and i have a 5 foot tall fence all around my backyard. It seem that peoples who are in the same situation trim the chicken wing on one side only. It will unbalance the flight and they will stop trying to fly.
     
  6. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,735
    117
    188
    Nov 16, 2012
    It's pretty easy to keep chickens in fences, and it's also easy to get the back in the coop. As long as they have been in the coop for a week or so and have gotten used to sleeping and eating in there they will automatically go back once the sun starts to set...
     
  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    25,645
    1,834
    463
    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I am one of the folks who accepts the risk of free ranging my flock for the benefits they gain. I think they are happier, have a more diverse diet, and produce better eggs. Keep in mind, they can be a little destructive - scratching bald patches into the lawn, raking up plants. All part of the deal.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Janay

    Janay Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    2
    81
    Feb 25, 2013
    Cape Cod, MA
    My Coop
    I also heard that trimming one wing will prevent flying. Do you think that will keep them in the fenced yard? At what age can I cut their wings? Thank you everyone for your help.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Probably the wrong terminology. I meant a light bodied breed that is predominantly for laying. Often that means they can fly.

    Sorry for the confusion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  10. kacklinkelly

    kacklinkelly Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,070
    101
    151
    Oct 12, 2012
    Southwest Desert
    This is my first go around with chickens. Mine are almost 6 months old and have a roomy tractor that we move around the yard.
    They also get to run around the yard for several hours a week as long as I can be out there with them. I am concerned
    about hawks in the area and have seen them a few times. I only have 3 chickens and they haven't started laying yet. I would
    be so upset if I lost one. They have gotten more bold each time they are out. I have two that can fly about 5 feet in the air
    for short distances. Certainly enough to get over a fence. Our fences are 6 feet high, but if they get onto a bush next to
    the fence, they are GONE.

    I watched a few videos on youtube and chose to clip their wings last week. As was said, I did only one side and they have
    been more grounded since. I was nervous the first time, but we all made it through just fine. They still run like crazy, just not so flighty.
    Now, if they would just start laying. I think they are getting back at me for clipping their wings. Enjoy your girls [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by