UPDATE! YAYYYYY Anyone with free range chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eventmerlin, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. eventmerlin

    eventmerlin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Massachusetts
    Can anyone with free range chickens give me some advice?? I live on 2.5 acres in a suburb. My house is relatively close to both my neighbors, but my back property goes out pretty far. Right now the chicken coop is close to the house till our barn is built in the back. That means the chickies are close to the neighbors. Well when my 9 original chickens went out loose during the day they stayed relatively in the yard. Didn't go in the neighbors yards/driveways. Now I added a friend's 5 hens to the flock and they are all WANDERING! I mean whats up with that?! haha... My lovely fiance flipped out on me today and said that my chickens were all the way up our neighbors driveway almost to the road.....I don't want my neighbor to come over and tell me a chicken crossing the road joke [​IMG] or getting mad if there's poop in the driveway.... Any suggestions on what to do??? I hate to lock my ladies up again....they love going out to forage and scratch and oh so faithfully are in coop by 4pm.... I put up a 4 foot fence and they fly over it. I don't want to clip thier wings as I would hate it if one of my dogs or a neighbors dogs chased them and the hen couldn't fly off. Grrr I feel like I may be forced to lock them in the slammer [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  2. JP33

    JP33 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2009
    Southeast, Louisiana
    First off you might ask your neighbors if they mind the chickens. They may actually like them and enjoy seeing them.

    I free range in a much smaller setting than you have. You will get many opinions as to why you should keep them in a covered run, mainly because of hawks and dogs getting them.


    ...JP
     
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with JP33. Mine range over 12 acres. But the closest neighbor is a good 3/4 of a mile away. Chickens can be very destructive to plants, mulched areas and poop everywhere! To keep a good relation with the neighbors....I'd keep them in a fenced yard, at least. Also you could just let them out right before time to go in for the night. They don't seem to roam as far and are ready to settle down for the night after a little scratching around.
     
  4. eventmerlin

    eventmerlin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Massachusetts
    Thanks JP.... No one on my street has chickens and when some neighbors heard that horses were coming to the neighborhood, lets just say not everyone was happy [​IMG] The two neighbors' yards the girls wander in were horse friendly though.... The only thing I'm worried about besides my girls being unhappy in the coop is that there will be noise complaints....man they are NOISY when left inside together! I mean they wake us up in the morning on weekends so I'll go let them out. And we don't even have a roo! I think I may need to go deliver a dozen eggs and a nice hand written card on their doorstep and see what happens....they work the nightshifts or I'd go talk to them myself...
     
  5. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you not have to worry about predators? That would be my biggest concern about them wandering that far.

    I live on 3 acres but even when ours "free range" it has to be under supervision because there are too many hawks, raccoons, coyotes, dogs, etc in the neighborhood.

    I've often read about that plastic electrified fencing that people get to make portable pens - maybe that's a way to section off an area that would allow them to free-range without leaving your property?
     
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Mine regularly roam over about 3-4 of my 8 acres...they sort of limit themselves with a little occasional help from the humans. Initially, we kept them in an area of about 10K square feet near the coop and enclosed run. Since they can go over fences, we applied 7' deer fence quickly and inexpensively in the area (10K sq ft) I want to keep them contained but it is much more space than the enclosed run. And they are happy. And I don't worry about them going too far. Then mid-afternoon, I open the gate (and their joy is apparent) to the acreage where they roam until dark for 2-3 hours. Initially, I was always out with them on the acreage...establishing limits by herding them (I use a 10' length of 1" pvc pipe) within a set of physical boundaries that I felt they could recognize. Open spaces are hard to gauge but I have woods and small clearings. It did not take long before they adapted pretty well to the limits. They rarely venture where they should not. I use my time out there with them to maintain the property. Plus I love being out there with them. Might be something from this approach that you can adapt and use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  7. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 6, 2009
    Alabama
    What I have found out is this. If you clip their wings once you rarely have to do it again. None of my girls attempt to fly over my 3ft fence and they easily could. I clipped their wings one time. They tried to fly and plopped right back down. Now they don't know so they don't try. Funny thing is they will fly while running but it is a low fly like trying to escape. They never fly high anymore.
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Unfortunately, free range chickens will go where they want, when they want.
    Mine free range on 80 acres. They tend to stick to the 5 or so acres immediately surrounding their coop and our house, but they have been known to wander further on a nice, sunny day.
     
  9. eventmerlin

    eventmerlin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2009
    Massachusetts
    bawkbawk, I don't really worry about predators, except my dogs [​IMG] (when the hens get brave and travel into the picket fence enclosed huge dog yard), and neighbor cats (only one I've seen, that my chickens have taken on before). It is a pretty populated area and they are only about 30 feet from the house. at night I lock everyone in. that's when I worry about predators.

    mdbok, where did you get the deerfence? How inexpensive was it? I would really only have to fence about a 90 foot straight line (the side with the neighbor's driveway). That sounds like a good idea.

    I really don't want to clip their wings... my bullmastiff as a puppy thought it fun to chase them and try to pin them to the ground (she did it once to a hen that wandered into "her" yard). She didn't try to eat the hen....just thought hen was a toy [​IMG] Now puppy is LARGE adult....I don't even want to know what she'd do to a silly hen now!

    Thank you everyone for your advice/ideas! If anyone has any other options I may have please let me know (besides eatting the 5 new trouble makers)....
     
  10. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Just read gritsar's page. Very interesting. Never have had roosters but I sure enjoyed it.

    Lowe's has it - 100' for $12. I attached it to 1x2s attached to existing fence posts or an inexpensive green u-post. (I have pics)
    Don't know if it will make it through a Mass winter. It didn't always in NE due to the heavy snow load. It does sometimes here in OK depending on the ice load (we rarely get snow, we get ice.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009

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