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New--Can you let chickens roam free...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

If I let my 3 chickens out in the morning to roam freely....will they come back to roost in their shed at night? Or will they just choose trees to roost in?

post #2 of 9

It depends. We've had some really dumb chickens. tongue We had a crazy old Polish hen that would go in the coop one night only to be sitting on top of one of the cages the next night soaking wet because it was raining.

I'd be more concerned with an animal attacking them if they go that long unsupervised.

And welcome-byc


Edited by orionburn - 7/21/10 at 7:32am
Nate
3 Buff Orpingtons, 2 RIRs, 2 EEs, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Danish Leghorn, 3 Golden Sebrights, 1 Buff Brahma, 2 Mille Fleurs w/7 mixed chicks and more Millies on the way!
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Nate
3 Buff Orpingtons, 2 RIRs, 2 EEs, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Danish Leghorn, 3 Golden Sebrights, 1 Buff Brahma, 2 Mille Fleurs w/7 mixed chicks and more Millies on the way!
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post #3 of 9

They should come home.  Provided that you've kept them in the shed for several days, they'll see it as home and return to roost. 

There are a few breeds that don't seem to get it.  I've had some crazy Polish, too!  If needed, you can chase/carry them back the first few nights, and they should get the idea.  DON'T let them roost in trees at night.  That's how birds become snacks for predators.

post #4 of 9

First....welcome-byc
You don't say how old or what breed(s) your birds are, which could make a difference. If they're young and you just got them, I'd give them several days to a week in their new surroundings, coop and run to get used to where "home" is before turning them loose. If they've been kept in the coop for a while already you can turn them out, but I'd do it when I could be home to check on them, just because I worry, and you never know what could happen until they get familiar with things (and it's fun to watch them explore for the first time). You may need to find them and lead them in a night or two, so make sure you start the process BEFORE it's dark...makes a chicken hunt much easier! I would never let my chickens roost outside anywhere at night....like TurkeyMountainChickens said, you'd just be advertising a free midnight snack for some critter. Mine usually start gathering for bed just after the sun sets but it's still light. My silkies head for bed about half an hour before that...such good little fuzzy butts! If things go smoothly all you'll need to do is take a head count before you close them up for the night. 
If you've had your chickens for a little while and they're accustomed to their coop there's a good chance they'll go in when it's bedtime, but I always count them and find any stragglers before I lock up. thumbsup
Good luck!

Our zoo= 4 horses, 1 yellow lab (rescue dog), 45 silkies, 27 BO, 5 BR, 10 BA, cats, a very tolerant husband, 3 sons that tell me I'm crazy and 7 grandkids that love to visit!
My collection of coops has a name: "Le village heureux de poulet"

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Our zoo= 4 horses, 1 yellow lab (rescue dog), 45 silkies, 27 BO, 5 BR, 10 BA, cats, a very tolerant husband, 3 sons that tell me I'm crazy and 7 grandkids that love to visit!
My collection of coops has a name: "Le village heureux de poulet"

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post #5 of 9

most folks here would tell you that free ranging will inevitably lead to being predated by something at some point, now or later.  in which case they will definitely NOT make it home to roost.

what's your set up with them roaming around?  is there anything you can count on that will keep them from being eaten?


Edited by haTHOR - 7/21/10 at 11:19am

joy
Breeding Black Javas...Tending a constantly changing group of Ameracaunas, Olive Eggers, EEs, FCBMs & Brown Leghorns
See a slideshow of my Black Javas here: https://picasaweb.google.com/113255570967966561169/BlackJavas#slideshow/5450581670922747458

My chicken keeping blog! http://charmed-life-chickens.blogspot.com/2012/01/olive-eggs-at-long-last.html

 

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joy
Breeding Black Javas...Tending a constantly changing group of Ameracaunas, Olive Eggers, EEs, FCBMs & Brown Leghorns
See a slideshow of my Black Javas here: https://picasaweb.google.com/113255570967966561169/BlackJavas#slideshow/5450581670922747458

My chicken keeping blog! http://charmed-life-chickens.blogspot.com/2012/01/olive-eggs-at-long-last.html

 

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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I dont have any chickens yet.  I want to get about three to keep cause I live in a subdivision.  Im researching stuff before I get them.  Thanks for all the help, I need it!

post #7 of 9

You might want to check with your neighbors too.  Will they mind?  Do they have dogs outside?  (Never mind the "My dog wouldn't do that kind of thing."  they all do.)

I live on 7.5 acres in the western Catskill foothills where I have a 3200 sq.ft veggie garden, 100-plant blueberry patch as well as strawberry and raspberry patches, 4 cats and over 4 dozen chickens: Black Stars, RIR's,  EE's, Brown leghorns, BR's, Buff Orpingtons, Black Australops (including one very happy EE rooster) plus 16 guinea fowl. I've been keeping chickens since I was in high school...



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I live on 7.5 acres in the western Catskill foothills where I have a 3200 sq.ft veggie garden, 100-plant blueberry patch as well as strawberry and raspberry patches, 4 cats and over 4 dozen chickens: Black Stars, RIR's,  EE's, Brown leghorns, BR's, Buff Orpingtons, Black Australops (including one very happy EE rooster) plus 16 guinea fowl. I've been keeping chickens since I was in high school...



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post #8 of 9

In a subdivision you can almost bet that sooner or later they will fall victim to a neighborhood dog.  Build a sturdy coop and run, buy your chickens, and free range them when you are present.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sourland 

In a subdivision you can almost bet that sooner or later they will fall victim to a neighborhood dog.  Build a sturdy coop and run, buy your chickens, and free range them when you are present.


I agree 110 percent! Even the smallest dog can take out your hens. (oh and if you live in a subdivision you had better make sure they are hens...no roosters!) If you have a back yard that is fenced in to where dogs can't get to them you should be fine as long as you are at home to keep an eye on them.

I would also look very close at what breed you choose. This site has a fantastic section that covers about any breed that you can imagine and tells you if they do well in confinement or not. There are some birds, especially Buttercups, Hamburgs, Lakenvelders etc. that LOVE to roam and will may fly over the fence, no matter how big your yard is. I have 6 acres and they are free to go where they please as long as I am out with them but of course....you guessed it....that is not enough for my Lakenvelder hens. They hop the 5 foot fence like its not even there, just to see whats on the other side.

If you want your birds for eggs check out the heavy breeds...they are less likely to be flighty and for the most part are more personable. If you want bantams you really need to keep them up in a secure coop unless you are right on top of them. Sebrights and d'uccles are so small that your neighbors cat could take them at anytime with ease.

Do a little research and check with your friends here in these forums and you should be able to get some birds and be able to take care of them responsibility with little effort. Oh another hint...you may want to give your neighbors free eggs to buy them off! wink When a hen lays her egg they can get a little loud cackling. (usually only lasts for a few mins) LOL you would too if something big that just dropped out of your backside.


Edited by Lbrad7 - 7/21/10 at 8:03pm
I get by with a lil help from my hens.
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I get by with a lil help from my hens.
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