Chickens on a 'Regular' size suburban block

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by brad_kl, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. brad_kl

    brad_kl Junior Member

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    Hi All,

    I have never kept chickens but am now considering doing so. I am intending to build a chicken tractor out of recycled materials. Plenty of my neighbors have chooks so you could say it's a 'chook friendly' street

    I know it won't be a problem keeping chickens in a chicken tractor and i can just move it around the yard but i tend to think keeping them in a small space 24/7 isn't real nice. So my questions:

    Can I free range them around the yard every couple of days for an hour s so when i'm home? Will they run away since i don't have real good fences? Would i have to stay with them and sort of herd them into staying in a particular area?

    My other idea is to get hold of some Electric netted fence that i have seen used in a video at Zaytuna farm. I could then let them in this area and move it around the yard. Sort of like what i saw Geoff do but on a smaller scale. Would this work?

    Thanks for your time
    Brad
     
  2. Ludi

    Ludi Junior Member

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    They probably won't run away (I have had only one chicken run away to live at the neighbors') but if you live on a busy street they can get run over because they will likely wander out of the yard once they get comfortable being out of the coop. Ordinarily they will come back to their coop at night.
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    So very true. Recently while moving my tractor the chicken known as "Spam" got out while loggers were dropping a lot of trees along my electrical line. Long story short, Spam disappeared into the forest South of my property for the entire day. Never found her, till that night when she was resting happily in the tractor. :)
     
  4. annette

    annette Junior Member

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    Hi Brad

    Just make sure when you first get the chooks that you don't let them out for at least 3 or 4 days. They have to learn that the coop is where they sleep. Then you can let them out and they will go back to roost at night. Having said that I have had a chook, Laverne, for a couple of years now and she has always gone back to the roost every night, until new years eve. She was nowhere to be found. But she turned up in the morning. I figure she had a party to go to.
     
  5. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    Feed your chooks near to your tractor each night just before dark and they will come back. Just keep them in for a few days first.
     
  6. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    I let mine out about an hour before dark so they don't have too much time to get in to trouble!
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Paul Wheaton's paddock shift system can be used on suburban lots. If you don't want to read the rest of the article, skip down 2/3rds of the page to 'raising chickens in paddocks'.

    https://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I currently have 7 chickens on a suburban block and have had up to ten. They spend some time in a dome tractor and when I don't need them preparing garden beds they have a big chook house and run to live in. I let them out to free range several times a week and they respect my property boundaries even though there aren't fences. Not sure how they know where the lines are but they do! Admittedly the foraging is better at my place than the neighbours. They put themselves back to bed as the sun goes down.

    They do tend to trash vege patches though so you need to either fence the chooks in to where you want them to work, or fence them out of where you don't want them to do.
     
  9. lukemurphy

    lukemurphy Junior Member

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    I think it depends on the chickens. When I first let mine free range in the yard(before I fixed my fences) there was one that was always getting up on the fence and once got into the neigbours yard, while the other 3 were fine.

    I have just bought some plastic trellis mesh from bunnings that is 1.4m high and I have them enclosed in this to move them around different spots in the yard. If they are always in different spots with fresh vegetation, worms etc then they are too busy foraging and scratching to try and escape. With the plastic mesh fencing being floppy at the top they do not like to jump on it as they can't perch on there very well. You have to peg it down though or they will get under it. It was about $30 for 20m of the stuff, which gives a decent area for a few chooks.

    Also may be an idea to build a small coop (still leaving them enough space (~.5m2 each)) with wheels, so you can move this around in the yard then put the fence up around it each time. I guess it depends on how easy this would be given how much room you have and how flat/accessible the land is.

    As for returning to the coop, after the first few days of me putting mine into the coop at dark they have always gone back. This is not the worry though, if they get into a yard with a curious/hungry dog or on the road then they may not have the chance to find their way back, no matter how well they know it!

    Rotating them around the yard is definitely a good idea, the patch where I first kept mine for a long period of time was stripped bare and baked by the sun - damaging the soil. Have fun with your chooks, they are intriguing creatures and an asset to a permaculture system!

    Luke
     

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