Super free range hens — help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by greytgrey, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. greytgrey

    greytgrey Chirping

    Jul 25, 2019
    Jonestown, TX
    My Coop
    We have a small flock of five hens, who are getting more and more brave with exploring our neighborhood. We have 1 acre, and a 4 to 6 foot fence that surrounds about 1/3 acre in the backyard. When we first moved here, ours was the newest house in the neighborhood, built in 2007. Since we got here, construction is going up everywhere and I think the chickens see people building and because they’re social they want to hang out with them. Anyway, I know that once these new houses are finished, the neighbors won’t want chickens eating their new landscaping. We do not have a budget to secure the fence part of our backyard, or really even to build a run. Also, I think it would be a lifestyle worsening for the birds to shut them into their small coop. Any ideas how to encourage them to stay in our yard, other than consistently walking them back when they get out? They have started crossing the road, they can get fly really high, and they seem very comfortable with strangers and pets.
  2. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Crossing the Road

    Jul 13, 2017
    Northport WA
    A fence is the only way... have you heard of electric poultry netting?
  3. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crossing the Road

    Jul 24, 2016
    Washington State
    You could clip their wings, but that might make them more vulnerable to predators. You just might have to squeeze a fence or pen into the budget.
    NHMountainMan and sorce like this.
  4. Dog kennel fencing is relatively inexpensive. You can check Craigslist for bargains. There are also cat kennels that have tops. Good luck!
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep.....poultry netting is to keep predators out won't likely keep chickens in.

    Best way to go...start saving your pennies and scavenging materials.
    NHMountainMan, sorce and ValerieJ like this.
  6. Perris

    Perris Crowing

    Jan 28, 2018
    Gower, Wales
    they will range less far if you offer them more food, and if you do it little and often at irregular intervals during the day, then they'll stay in earshot longer in the hopes of an easy meal. That's been my experience in a similar situation.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I use plantings of my own that provide cover well away from property boundary. Multiple plantings. Also have more than one feeding station, possibly with something different in each. Fencing / electrified poultry netting can work to contain birds when birds also properly clipped. The overwhelming majority of people clipping are not doing it correctly. See linked thread below.

    A 1-acre plot is a bit tight even for five birds. You can make it appear bigger by providing a compost bin to work on for insect forages. I have about 20 birds that will stay on about 6 acres if fed about 3/4 what they want in feed. The balance they make for by foraging. Acreage required varies with season, locality and how landscape is managed. I am blunt so if you disagree, then shut up. LOL
    NHMountainMan and sorce like this.
  8. greytgrey

    greytgrey Chirping

    Jul 25, 2019
    Jonestown, TX
    My Coop
    Thanks, everyone, for the ideas!
    ValerieJ and NHMountainMan like this.
  9. sorce

    sorce Songster

    Aug 26, 2019
    I used this fencing to make my run for mad cheap.
    Capture+_2019-10-18-08-49-18.png Capture+_2019-10-18-08-48-51.png Capture+_2019-10-18-08-48-03.png

    Reckon you can make a decent sized run/tractor with that last bit.
    Maybe trade some eggs for the negotiation!

    ValerieJ and NHMountainMan like this.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Your new neighbors are likely to have dogs, and without fencing, one 'free ranging' dog will wipe out your flock in a few minutes one day.
    Sooner or later every possible predator will show up, and the birds do need a safe place to 'roam'.
    Claire A and ValerieJ like this.

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