Trying to create an enclosed area that seems free roaming


10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
Pliny, West Virgina
Hello… I am new to the forum. All the years as a child and teen my parents always raised chickens. I was always interested and participated with my father often (some wonderful memories). I have owned my current property which is about 1 acre for the last 10 years or so. I built a chicken house 8 years ago but only had the chicks for a short time before they were killed by neighbor’s dogs. This year I have decided to revisit the back yard flock and I have planned more carefully. I came into a large amount of 6’ chain heavy gage fence. With this heavy fencing I installed a 23’ X 30’ run area next to the hen house. I know everyone quotes 4 s/f per chick but using that calculation does that leave a barren piece of ground where the chicks can roam without vegetation? My question is… If your poultry must be contained is there a reasonable amount of run area that you can give each bird that will leave them a similar environment to being free roaming? My hopes was to give them extra run area so it would seem as if they were not confined. Any one want to suggest a conservative number for my flock as it grows?

Thanks for any input
4' per chicken is the minimum recommended size in the Coop. 10' per chicken is the minimum space recommendation for the run. You've got 690 Square Feet in your run, so theoretically you could accommodate 69 birds. I'd think that would feel like free ranging to a lot of birds (10? 20? 30?)

How many were you thinking of acquiring?
I think your birds will probably feel very free in that amount of space. Does your run have any trees or bushes in it? I've noticed that my girls spend a lot of time messing around under the scrub oak on our property when I let them out to free range. Maybe something like that would be good? Also, it would give them some sense of security - they love to be under things! Your birds are going to be very lucky to have such a huge space to do their "chicken thing" in!
Hmmm... One maple tree sits only 15 ft from the run... but it won't supply much shade for while since it is only 5-6 yrs old. Maybe i'll transplant a decent size maple into the center of the run area and keep it trimmed thick so it will provide a more long term shady area for them and the flocks to follow.

There are also several cherry trees beside the run area and we have been treating them with the cherries. I don't suppose they could be harmful to the flock?

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