When it comes to backyard chickens, they prefer to not stay in their coop all the time. Most will want to go outside and forage for food. For that reason, most people are afraid to let their chickens roam freely. Some fear they will run away and not come back. Others think their chicken will get lost.
How far will free range chickens roam? Chickens will typically not go far from their coop. They will often roam within 400 yards of their coop. Some chickens may wander a bit farther, but they’ll usually come back to join their flock when they notice they are alone.
Can Chickens Find Their Way Back Home?
No matter how far they roam, chickens are great at finding their way back home. Due to their instinct, they will go back to the area where there’s plenty of food and a safe place for them to sleep.
In the wild, chickens will go in search of food far away, but when it starts to get dark, they will make their way back to the spot where they have been sleeping for a while. Until something disturbed their place and makes them feel uncomfortable, then they will go in search of another place.
Backyard chickens are the same way. As long as you provide them with a coop and food, they’ll usually come back when it’s getting dark.
On the other, if you were to drop your chickens off in the middle of nowhere, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to find their way back home.
Will Free Range Chickens Run Away?
Chickens do not run away on their own account. These birds prefer to stay close to their coop most of the time.
However, some chickens are curious and will go further out. This could cause them to get lost, especially when there’s a lot of trees and shrubs. These things will make it hard for them to find out where their coop is.
Another way they may get lost is due to being scared. If a predator is chasing them, they’ll keep running until they are safe. This means it can be hundreds of yards away from their coop. By then, they’ll be lost and unsure where their coop is.
So, free-range chickens will not run away just because they want to. It’s usually due to a predator chasing them, or they venture too far out and got lost in the new environment.
How To Keep Chickens From Roaming Into Your Neighbor’s Yard
When it comes to chickens, they don’t have any boundaries and will roam freely wherever they choose to. Sometimes, they may roam into your neighbor’s yard.
Some neighbors are fine with it, but some are not. Chickens tend to poop a lot and if they are spending a lot of time in the neighbor’s yard, it’s likely that they will poop in the yard. This can be a problem since most people like to keep their yards clean.
Dogs and other pets in the neighbor’s yard can also be a hazard for your chickens. They can kill your chickens if they have a chance to.
To prevent your chickens from going to the neighbor’s yard, you can put up a fence that’s high enough to deter them from escaping.
How To Train Chickens to Stay In Your Yard
Training a chicken to stay in the yard is almost impossible. These animals are not easily trained like cats and dogs are.
The best thing you can do is deter them from leaving your yard.
For one, chickens tend to stay close to their coop. They know of the possible danger when roaming too far and will stay close just in case they need to escape from a predator.
You can place the coop far away from your neighbor’s yard. If you have a small yard, a high fence is the only possible choice.
Tips To Letting Chickens Free Range for the First Time
Keep Them In Their Coop For A Week
If it’s chickens that you’ve just brought home, it’s best to keep them in their coop for about a week. Doing so will get them used to where they will sleep, eat, and feel comfortable.
Once it’s been a week, you can let them roam freely. However, keep an eye on them for a couple of days. This is to make sure they don’t wander off too far and will come home at dusk.
Most chickens will not wander further than 300 yards from the coop. This is just in case, they have to run back to the coop to escape a predator.
Check for Predators
The last thing you want to happen to be to make your chickens an easy meal for predators.
If you are raising backyard chickens and have a lot of them, more than likely there will be predators such as foxes, snakes, and hawks waiting to catch the chickens.
Before letting them roam freely, scout the area for any predators. Check area with tall grasses for foxes and snakes. Look up at the trees for any owls or hawks that may be nearby.
If you do see any of these predators, especially those flying, keep the chickens in their coop until they go away.
Stick to a Routine
It’s recommended to stick to a routine for free-roaming chickens. This way they will know where to go at certain times of the day.
This means locking and unlocking the coop at the same time each day. Putting out their food at the same time each morning and evening.
After a couple of times, most chickens will know the schedule and will come back when it’s time.
However, you may have a few who want to test the boundaries and wander off far. If so, keep a close eye on them and have plenty of treats on hand when you call them back.
Letting the chickens roam freely will not be an issue. These birds are smart and tend to stay close to their coop. It provides them protection from predators if one is nearby, food to eat, and a place to sleep comfortably. As long as you provide them with all the necessary things, you don’t have to worry about your chickens roaming too far from their coop.