Ranging the Flock
The best thing we can do for our poulry flocks is: Put them on pasture! Wild relatives of our domesticated fowl roam freely in the outdoors, enjoying freedom of movement, sunshine, and opportunity to forage natural foods. They are not tightly confined to a crowded, artificial environment, dependent exclusively on artificial foods from our hands.
Even if you don’t have pasture to offer your birds, you may well be able to rotate them over your lawns. They will be grateful, and will do much better than if confined to a static, denuded chicken run accumulating an ever-greater load of poultry droppings.
Not everyone who pastures his birds uses electric net fencing, but for me, it is an essential management tool. If you do pasture your birds in electronetted pasture areas, you will need pasture shelters. There is lots of information on both subjects in this section.
Please note: In the past, I called this topic “Pasturing the Flock.” But it is more accurate to talk of “ranging the flock,” since it may be possible in your situation to range your birds in brushy or wooded areas. If you are using electric net fencing, you will find it more difficult to set up the fence in such environments. Be assured it can be done: For years, I periodically netted about a third acre in my bit of woodlot, which my birds explored and foraged in happily. Of course, a mobile shelter is likely to be practical only on a pasture (or lawn).