Anyone remember the ‘80s TV hit sitcom “Ang Manok ni San Pedro”?
What wasn’t really clear to audiences that time was whether promdi bida Esteban (played by Lito Pimentel), was breeding chickens for meat and eggs or cockfighting. Perhaps due to budget constraints back then, viewers did not see any bakuran secured by free range nets where Esteban’s chickens can be seen roaming around. Fast forward to today and any poultry farmer or cockfighting breeder knows that two of the most important things to start with when taking care of chickens are number one: how big an area should be to raise them; and number two: which free range net you should install to keep them safe.
When raising your chickens free range, it’s easy to assume that the bigger your open-spaced poultry area the better regardless of how many chickens you raise but you’d be surprised by just how little space you need provided you have the right free range nets installed.
To get a better picture on just how big a space chickens need to roam and grow, there are a few factors you’ll have to consider prior to setting up the entire area such as the total number of chickens you aim to raise and the right mesh size for your nets among others.
How much land do you need to raise chickens?
The answer to this question of course depends on how many of our feathered friends you intend to keep at a time. Those who are new to breeding cocks or free ranging usually don’t go over six chickens at a time so acres of land would be unnecessary. But gradually increasing the number of course would also increase the land space.
Chickens both need an open area to roam and forage for insects during most of the daytime then get settled inside a coop at night. If you are starting with at least six chickens, the ideal area for an open space would be a little over 10 square meters. This gives them more ample room to roam around without being too cramped.
On the other hand, one chicken would need three square foot of coop space including a roosting or perching space. There’s no need to worry much about your chickens crowding inside the coop at night because they would want to huddle themselves together to make their environment warmer. But to be safe, allot ample space for them to move around inside their own coops.
How big should a free range area be?
More and more poultry farmers are choosing to raise their chickens in a free range manner because it gives their chickens more benefits for bigger eggs and better meat than traditional practices. One of the most important things you’re going to need is a free range net that can secure them from predators while also defining your chickens’ roaming area. It’s affordable, durable, and does a great job in keeping your chickens safe.
Locally, free range nets are available via Philippine Ranging Nets, which are tried and tested to withstand changing climates and come in a variety of different mesh sizes. Smaller chickens that are weeks old would need a hole size ranging from 0.5 inch to one inch, 1.2 to 1.5 inches for month old chickens, and two inches for two months or older.
Aside from setting up a perimeter and separating your chickens’ open space from the outside world, free range nets also allow you to maintain your chickens’ environment and keep it clean. And unless there are foxes or minks in your area, that’s the only time you might want to consider upgrading to electric fences which are more costly.
When it comes to allowing your chickens to roam, allot at least 1.5 square meters for each one. Going back to our starter example of six chickens, that makes your total space to about nine square meters or probably the size of two standard bathrooms. Giving your chickens more room will of course make them happier but if you are really struggling with space, these figures are your bare minimum. Besides, smaller spaces mean less maintenance work too!
Whether you choose to raise your chickens in your garden or a spacious free-range area, keeping in mind the right spaces for each one to roam and setting up secure netting are the most important things to remember. For more do-it-yourself tips on how you can raise free-range chickens using shade nets, check out this blog.
Philippine Ranging Nets provide Filipino-made multi-purpose nets mainly used for free ranging chickens and other poultry. Trusted by top-breeders, PRN’s top quality affordable ranging nets are available nationwide.