How To Free Range Your Chickens (Without Annoying Your Neighbors)

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was let out to free range by its owner without any regard for its safety or the neighbor’s sanity, that’s why!

Now I’m not claiming to be an expert on chickens since we’ve only been raising them for about six years now and still have a lot to learn. I am, however, an expert on being annoyed by annoying neighbors.

One of our biggest complaints is the same one every single commenter on this article about raising backyard chickens had.

My neighbors have at least a dozen chicken hens and 1 rooster. Which they let roam freely even when they are gone. Day and night. They come in our yard. We can’t even let our dog run in our own yard because of the chickens being there. We have spoken with them several xs They just say well this is Kentucky. What can We do legally to keep there chickens out of Our yard/property? What laws do the neighbors with the chickens need to follow and abide by? ThankYou. God bless!

Ron

My neighbor has a chicken coop but never keeps her chickens in it. They are constantly in my yard and my dog killed some of them. Shouldn’t she have to keep them in the coop and out of my yard?

Leslie

My neighbor recently got chickens which is fine but they allow them to run loose all day and they leave the property and go into the street and have come into my yard. My three terriers are not happy and I’m afraid they may eventually catch and kill one when it comes over. Are they allowed to run loose like that?

Susan

We live in an area that is livestock friendly and most of our neighbors keep all sorts of critters like sheep, chickens, goats, horses, ducks, pheasant, turkeys and lots and lots of cats and dogs (maybe not as many dogs as we do, but still).

We are even allowed to keep roosters like our little Ricky here.

So the sound of crowing roosters isn’t annoying, in fact it’s quite soothing to be honest. As I type this I can hear three different roosters crowing in the distance and I don’t mind at all.

What does annoy me, though, is when the neighbors let their chickens out to roam the neighborhood with zero regard for the rest of us. I guess they think the term “free ranging” means not having any boundaries?

According to the FDA:

Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as free range must be produced by hens housed in a building, room, or area that allows for unlimited access to food, water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their laying cycle.

And according to the RSPCA:

Free-range poultry must meet legal requirements. The RSPCA states that chickens must have a defined amount of space (no more than 13 birds a square metre), be 56 days old before they are slaughtered and have continuous daytime access to open-air runs, with vegetation, for at least half their lifetime.

So it basically means they can’t be kept in cages indoors 24/7 and it doesn’t say they can’t be safely contained when they are outside to be considered free ranging. Especially if you live next to other people.

And why wouldn’t you want them to be safe? After all, chickens are an investment and some of us get quite attached and even name them.

We “free range” our chickens according to the FDA’s definition. Our coop is set up to have a large outdoor covered area that is secure from predators.

We also have an enclosed pen for the ducks that is connected by a wire tunnel so we can let them in there, too.

Chicken tunnels are a great way to let them out to free range if you don’t have the room for large outdoor runs.

They are relatively easy and cheap to build and can be run anywhere in your yard or garden that you’d like.

We also have a large outdoor run behind their coop for grazing in and we are in the process of adding a second pen for them to alternate grazing areas since they gobble up the grasses so quickly.

We planted pasture mix in there recently and it’s coming along nicely.

Both will be covered with netting to keep them from flying out because we don’t clip their wings.

We only let our chickens out of their pens, tunnel and runs if we’re outside to keep an eye on them and we shoo them out of the areas they aren’t allowed to go.

Like in the garden beds or too close to the dog pens or into the neighbor’s yards! Or, you know, if they decide to gangstalk the cat, which they all seem to like to do hehe.

5 thoughts on “How To Free Range Your Chickens (Without Annoying Your Neighbors)

  1. My niece decided they were going to have some chickens this year. They have a pen where they are protected from harm. The only time they run free, someone is there to watch. The neighbors have dogs that would not be chicken friendly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had the opposite problem, the neighbor’s dog was coming into our yard to hunt down our chickens and ducks. When I complained about this (after losing half our flock) she said I should sit outside and guard them and when the dog came by to shoot a gun into the air to frighten him away, b/c he’s scared of gun shot. I made some vague threat out of anger that I later regretted, but, seriously?!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, sorry you had to deal with that! I would have been pretty mad, too.

      Our huskies used to be masters of escape before we got the new pens set up. One of our girls got out a few years ago and killed the neighbor’s flock of chickens and we were mortified.

      We made up for it by giving them our flock to replace theirs and some $ on top of it. We are lucky they didn’t shoot her! It was awful.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My chickens free roam and some of them used to get out and into the neighbor’s yard but we clipped their wings. I haven’t had any complaints. We did have one duck that was killed but we don’t know what the culprit was.

    Liked by 1 person

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