Raising chickens can be a fun experience, although it is not always easy. You need to decide what to feed them, how to keep them safe, and most importantly, how to keep them from leaving the yard.
Keeping chickens from leaving your yard doesn’t have to be complicated; you just need to know what to do.
Below we have listed nine ways to keep chickens from leaving your yard.
How To Keep Chickens From Leaving Your Yard
1. Build a Fence
Build a fence around your yard, chicken coop, or grazing area. You can make the fence with any type of material.
Not only will the fence keep your chickens in the yard, but it will also keep pests and predators out of it.
One problem with building a fence is that if predators do get in, they may not be able to get back out. Then you will have to deal with them yourself.
2. Train the Chickens
The most effective way to keep chickens in your yard is to ensure they return to their coop every night. This is important for the chickens’ safety and warmth.
One way to do this is to keep their roaming area close to the coop. Your chickens should return to the coop in the late afternoon if you have trained them well.
3. Keep Yard Free From Predators
One reason why chickens leave the yard is that they are scared of something. Because of this, check your yard to make sure that there are no predators.
Some common predators include foxes, bobcats, weasels, and coyotes. Don’t limit your search to the ground – chickens can also be scared of birds, such as eagles and hawks.
If chickens feel the yard is safe, they will come back.
4. Feed Them Well
Chickens sometimes leave the yard in search for food. The less food they find, the farther away they will roam.
Because of this, ensure your chickens are well fed.
Give your birds food and water in the morning, whether they are free-range or not. Always check their feed and water troughs to make sure they are full enough.
5. Monitor Hens with Chicks
You must monitor your hens when they have chicks for two reasons:
- Chicks follow their mother: Wherever the mother goes, the chicks follow. If the mother heads to a dangerous place, the chicks will follow as well.
- Chicks learn from their mother: Chickens learn good and bad habits from their mother. If the mother leaves the yard often, the chicks will do so too.
As you can see, making sure the mother chickens don’t leave the yard will help the rest later.
6. Bring Chickens Back
Count the birds in your coop every day to make sure they are all there. If any are missing, it is your duty to find them.
Don’t let your birds sleep outside. While safety is the main concern, chickens may get used to this and create a habit of sleeping outside. This habit could rub off on the other chickens as well.
7. Ensure a Comfortable Environment
The best way to keep chickens from running away is to make sure they are comfortable.
This includes having enough food and water, no pests in the yard, a roosting area near their coop, and a large yard for free-ranging.
Birds will stay if they feel comfortable in the yard and in their coop.
8. Monitor Your Free-Range Chickens
Don’t leave free-range birds out of your sight. If you must leave them, ensure that there is a fence to protect them.
Remember that hawks and eagles can come at any time, so you want to make sure your chickens are protected.
If your chickens fail to return regularly, try limiting their free-range time. Reducing their free-range time will help the birds make it a habit of returning to their coop a few hours earlier.
9. Check Outside the Yard
If your chickens leave the yard, try following them to see what they do. Do not get too close, but see if they go to any particular place or plant.
If you know what your chickens are attracted to, you can put the same thing inside your yard.
Chickens mostly search for food and shade, so ensure that you have plenty of both in your yard.
How to Train Chickens to Return
Here are some ways to train your chickens to return to their coop:
1. Start With a Few Chickens
Remember that chickens learn their habits from other chickens.
To train your birds more quickly, start with a few so the others can learn from them.
2. Use Rewards
In the late afternoon, go to your coop and reward the first birds that return. You can use insects, larvae, and grains.
Don’t do this every day, as the chickens may get used to the treat. Also, don’t use your regular feed because the chickens are already used to it.
3. Lock New Chickens in the Coop
You should lock new chickens in the coop for two to three days.
This way, they will get used to their new home and will not try to escape when you finally let them out.
Locking your new chickens in the coop will also prevent other chickens from leading them outside.
4. Bring Chickens Back
As we mentioned earlier, make sure your chickens don’t get into the habit of staying outside. Always bring them back to the coop in the evening.
5. Keep Food and Light in the Coop
Your chickens may be leaving the coop because they are more comfortable somewhere else.
To bring them back, make sure that their coop is comfortable. Keep a heat lamp and enough food in the coop.
Related Questions and Answers
1. How High Can Chickens Jump?
In addition, chickens can jump higher if they are more motivated or running away from something.
You should build your fence based on how high your chicken can jump. Check the details for your specific breed.
2. How Can You Tell Your Chickens Are Uncomfortable?
There are many ways to tell your chickens are not comfortable:
- Always running away: If your chickens are always trying to escape, that is a good sign they are uncomfortable.
- Not eating: If your birds are not eating, make sure the temperature and other conditions are right. Also, check to see that the coop is clean and free from odors.
- Fighting: It is common for both male and female chickens to fight at times. However, if the chickens are fighting very frequently, they may be uncomfortable.
- Sick or dying: If your birds are sick or dying, sterilize the coop and disinfect the yard, as there may be disease. Ensure your birds are well-fed and are taking their medications.
3. Will Your Chickens Come Back?
Most chickens who leave the yard return to the coop.
Chickens usually return, unless they have been taken by a predator or chased by a human. As long as the chicken is left alone, it will most likely find its way back.
With the right knowledge and tools, it can be simple to keep your chickens from leaving the yard. Follow our tips to make sure your chickens are safe and well-cared for.