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To fence or not...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Tarheel2288, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Tarheel2288

    Tarheel2288 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2012
    Bolivar, Mo.
    I am new to raising chickens and will be getting 35 or so cornish crosses here pretty soon...I have my chicken tractor built and was planning on fencing off a pasture area, but I have had several people tell me recently that it wasn't necessary to fence them in. I was told that they just run free during the day time, and they automatically go back into the coop at night. Is this true, and what are the advantages/disadvantages to letting them roam free vs. fencing them in?

  2. crenees

    crenees In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2011
    I have never raised Cornish crosses but have heard they are relatively inactive (and so less ineterested in activities such as foraging, etc.) although food rationing to prevent leg/heart damage may offset this tendency. I, myself, raised red broilers from Ideal that were predated upon (22 out of 25) due 2 my coop not being lit enough at dusk...I've found through my egg layers though that as long as the coop has enough light during dusk the chickens naturally go in at night...but watch out for predators!! Anytime chickens are allowed to free range you will have that risk...raccoons have been my enemy during this lOng journey to get my first set of meat chickens to weight and if I was to give out any advice it would be to take the time and lock up your chickens at night... They will get themselves in a well lighted coop but they need to be secured to ensure no critters follow them in! (of course I live down here in florida so your situation may be different). Good luck!!
  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I raised mine in a dog kennel in my barn. I had them in the house until they were big enough to go outside. I kept them in the dog kennel for a week or so until they figured out where their feed and water was located, then I started opening the kennel door and letting them free range. They dont venture far for the first few days until they get brave enough to go wander. They definitely go back to their home in the evening. Mine never went to far, mostly just stayed in the barn, or went out the front of the barn 10 or 15 feet. They certainly dont range as far as my layers, who go all over my 10 acres.
    1 person likes this.
  4. 1MrsMagoo

    1MrsMagoo Songster

    Jan 11, 2010
    St Tammany Parish LA
    I haven't had corish crosses, but have also heard they are somewhat inactive compared to regular chickens. However, I have nearly all 7 acres of our property fenced off. Not so much to keep the birds in, but to make it more difficult for stray dogs, cats, and other predators to get in...especially during the day. One stray dog may wipe out quite a few slow moving birds without much effort. While most fencing won't stop a determined predator, it may slow them down enough for you to intervene if you are there.
  5. erinchelsea

    erinchelsea Songster

    May 23, 2010
    Webster City, IA
    If you feed them in their coop, you'd better believe they will go back in at night. (we fed every 12 hours, morning and night) You should see those fat birds come running when I come out with a bag of food! [​IMG]

    I think I would fence them to keep predators out, not neccesarily to keep them in.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    To me, the big disadvantage of not fencing, and really the only disadvantage I can think of, is the risk of predators. That risk is different for all of us and is inconsistent for me. I went three years with practically no losses, then twice this past year, somebody dropped off some dogs in the country for the good life. I had pretty significant losses both times before I was aware of the problem. Of course, both times it happened, I was not home.

    I do lock them up every night in a predator-proof coop. My only significant losses have been to those dogs, though I did lose a couple to what I think was a fox during the day.
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Fence them in. It only takes one stinkin' neighbor dog or stray to have a great time slaughtering your entire flock in only minutes. Just like that all your time, effort and expense are down the drain. Maybe you'll find the owner of the dog to reimburse you maybe not. Just not worth the risk of loss in my very humble opinion.

    And yes, if fox or coyote find your free roaming buffet they will pick them off until the food source is gone. Even in the daytime, doesn't matter.

    So if this flock is intended to be raised for meat and you prefer to eat them yourself rather then feed the local wildlife I strongly suggest a fence. Other folk's may have a large laying flock and really don't mind a loss here and there in return for free ranging. It's all in what you want from and for your birds.

  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Well said! I agree!
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    They won't run away from home.

    I keep my birds fenced so the local coyotes don't eat them. It's up to you, what your local predator load is, and what you consider to be acceptable loses.
  10. Tarheel2288

    Tarheel2288 In the Brooder

    Feb 1, 2012
    Bolivar, Mo.
    So my coop needs to be lit? I hadn't heard that anywhere yet...

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