Coop or Free Roam?

Every good chicken keeper knows the importance of protecting their birds from predators. Most of us will, or already have lost birds to a coyote, hawk, fox, bobcat, etc, etc. It’s devastating to see the after mass, I know, it’s happened here, I lost seven birds after a coyote attack in 2016. That changed everything I loved most about keeping chickens.

Since the attack, my birds have been completely safe after building them a 10×10 predator proof enclosure. Unfortunately, that means their happy life of free roaming our acreage came to a screeching halt. To me, it meant never enjoying my birds out and about, it was now just a chore for their well being. Chickens live for the opportunity to scratch in the dirt and look for bugs, sunbathe in the morning sun, or finding that perfect spot for a dust bath. Since confinement, I’ve noticed the overall health of my flock has not quite been what it was.

The heat plays havoc on confined chickens in the desert southwest, heat stroke is real, and it’s deadly.  Free roam flocks have a much higher rate of survival, and are quite resourceful in finding shade and cooler ground to burrow in.  So this brings me to a dilemma, coop for safety from a predator, or free roam for quality of life and comfort from the extreme heat?

Quality of Life
Today I opened the gate and gave my flock the opportunity to live a happy life. After considering the risk, I decided being cooped up in 110+ would have the same outcome as a predator attack… both could mean a death sentence. I will do my part to protect them every way I can. They will be confined from dusk to late morning, but during the hottest part of the day they will be free to find comfort.
Here’s some of the girls who found a comfy place in the feed room… where there’s a giant oscillating fan and mist system. 🙂









New Chicken Keeping Articles | May 14, 2016

Articles for Chicken Keepers, by Chicken Keepers is an updated collection of chicken keeping articles from across the web archived in one convenient library on our menu bar.

Have an article to submit? Send it to with ARTICLE SUBMISSION on the subject line.

New Articles May 14, 2016

: How I Use Herbs in My Coop and Why You Should Too
Olive Egger Chicken: May Breed of the Month – Countryside Network
Understanding the Pecking Order | TBN Ranch
You Don’t Need a Rooster Rescue, Set Up a Bachelor Pad Instead – Countryside Network
Tips on Breaking the Broody Hen | TBN Ranch
Poultry Farming Terminology – What’s in a Name? – Countryside Network
Probiotics and Ferments: They’re Good For Your Chickens, Too! – Hobby Farms
Your Guide to Strong Eggshells | Purina Mills
10 Chicken Coops That Will Make You Want To House Hens (PHOTOS)
Our Top 10 Reasons To Keep A Rooster – Hobby Farms
Keeping Chickens Cool in Summer | TBN Ranch

Feature Article

by The Happy Chicken Coop

Before we ever entertained the idea of keeping chickens in our garden we were long under the impression that you need lots of land to keep chickens- ideally at least an acre of grass. Fortunately, this isn’t the case (unless you are planning on keeping thousands of them!) and you’d be surprised by the actual amount of room chickens need…. Continue Reading

The Happy Chicken Coop

What’s New at TBN Ranch

We are building a new brooder box for our fall chicks! Husband Dan has been working on this custom brooder project for awhile now and it’s really coming along nicely. He decided to make the front glass so the chicks can see the world before they graduate to the grow pen.
The box is raised high enough so chores are easy on my back. The cabinet below will be for feed and supplies. The brooder measures 5ft long, 22inches wide, and will have a removable divider in the center.

The last pic included is Dan’s workbench, I’m amazed this total disaster of unorganized clutter  is what he considers a functional work space. How on earth does he find anything?

Next Project

In the fall talk of another chicken enclosure is also on the table which would be for laying hens of a yet to be decided breed…. but most likely Leghorns and RIR.

Here We Go Again…

Keeping chickens cool 2

Summer is here, it’s only May and the temperature expected today is 104. By the middle of June it will no doubt be 110, and then it only gets worse, with temps exceeding 115+ in July and August.  The chickens will need a lot more attention in such hot weather, but we are prepared with tons of shade cloth and a cooling station in the shade with a hose left on a slow drip to help cool the ground.


Tips For Managing Rooster Behavior in a Bachelor Colony

You Don’t Need a Rooster Rescue, Set Up a Bachelor Pad Instead


Countryside Daily

Unless you buy sexed day-old chicks, chances are you’ve got extra roosters this spring! Finding a rooster rescue can be difficult, especially during the spring when extra, unwanted roosters start to appear as for sale or free… Continue Reading

How to Keep your Chickens Cool this Summer

Keeping chickens cool 2

amy elizabeth
TBN Ranch

Summer is coming, is your chicken yard and coop suitable to sustain the well being of your flock? It’s important to prepare for extreme heat or your birds may suffer from heat exhaustion. Sun is the #1 enemy to chickens that are confined, especially in small quarters… Continue Reading