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Who has NEVER let their chickens Free Rang? - Page 3

post #21 of 34

I don't have chickens yet but mine won't be allowed to free range unattended. That means that days that I work late (like today I work 1pm to 10pm) they will not get to be outside, only in in their run.

 

On my off days or short days, they will get to be outside in the yard

 

This is for their protection... :)

My chicken coop is now inhabited by chickens!

 

RIP June the chicken 4/23/13

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My chicken coop is now inhabited by chickens!

 

RIP June the chicken 4/23/13

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post #22 of 34

My wife and I have never free ranged our flock even though we live in the country.  Neither of us wanted to have to worry about them going into our neighbors yard or going missing due to predators.  We have been keeping chickens for two years now, and have very happy and friendly chickens.  We have 1 favorelle, 3 EE's, 3 SS, 2 BR, 1 RIR and 3 Seabright hens.

 

We converted a sheep pen into our chicken yard.  It is a field fenced area of 25 x 40 feet (approximately).  I have poultry netting covering the entire area.  The yard includes  a pine tree in it that the netting is attached midway up, which gives them an area to feel sheltered and they like to eat the needles as well.  We have numerous logs that usually are along the edges of the fencing to minimize digging at the edges, The girls like to perch on them and peck at the deteriating wood searching for termites and ants and I also roll them around every now and then and the girls go nuts for bugs and worms everytime.  Their coop is a three sided structure that has a roosting area made from branches, and a raised enclosed nesting box.  Under the nesting box the ladies have turned into their wintertime dusting area, but during the summer they like using a particular area of their yard that is in the sun.

 

Every morning when my two sons go out to collect eggs and change out the waters ... I have them bring in two or three clumps of field grasses.  We use a weeding tool to get them out by the roots, so they eat the greens and dig through the roots for bugs, during the summer I give them grass cuttings from my bagger and they love digging through that pile and picking out clippings to gobble down.  I put in flock blocks every now and again or just throw them wild bird seed along with their scratch for a treat as well as give them left overs when we clean out the fridge and any chips, pretzles, bread and the like that go stale.  I also give them their egg shells as we use the eggs so I have never had to give them oystershell.  I microwave them up on the spot and crush right away putting them into my chicken bucket we keep at the back door for kitchen scraps, this goes out every morning as well.

 

When ever we open the back door the chickens all come to the entry of their run clucking at us.  When we look out he windows at them they are all walking around their run or perching on logs or under the tree doing what chickens do.  No matter who goes outside they are right there wanting to be talked to and petted.

 

I think you will find that chickens are resiliant, and will adapt to whatever they have available.  The few times our birds got out of their yard they were all just along its edges picking at the grass that is just out of their reach.  The do not in my opinion long for the wide open spaces.  Good luck!

 

 

post #23 of 34

I have not let my current flock of bantams out to free range. I have let previous flocks out and they did great. We live on 170 acres in rural PA, however a main highway runs about 100 feet from their coop, so I am very leery of letting them out. The past flock always returned to the coop for roosting at night, that is my main concern with these little bantams....I don't want to take that risk, so I guess I will keep them in always.

LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR.
DH of 31 years, daughter and son~both married with children (our three adorable grandsons), 2 British White beefers, 1 Basset Hound and 16 assorted bantams
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LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR.
DH of 31 years, daughter and son~both married with children (our three adorable grandsons), 2 British White beefers, 1 Basset Hound and 16 assorted bantams
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post #24 of 34

Free ranging banties are a bit different. Hawks will deffenitly go after them. Cats will to. Plus all other predators. There is way way way too many feral cats around my house for banties. Which stinks cuz I  would love to have some.

post #25 of 34

Our chickens have been in their 24x24 run full time since they laft their grow up pen. There are 10 Buckeye hens. In the fall I fence off part of the veggie garden to let them clean up a little, but they prefer to stay on the gress between the run and the garden. After an hour or 2, they all head back to the run where the water and chicken food is. We feed lots of lettuce and food scraps in the run so I suppose they relate that area to food.

mrkep

post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
Great stuff, Peeps!

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/631433/hey-gang-whatcha-think-of-my-plans-and-rooster-issue

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For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/631433/hey-gang-whatcha-think-of-my-plans-and-rooster-issue

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post #27 of 34

My flock of Brahmas, Orpingtons, and RIR's free range when I'm home and get locked in their coop at night. I also have a run with screen on 6 sides for when I'm not home.

I have 2 German Shepherd dogs that guard the chickens and will actually give up their doghouse if a chicken decides it wants to go in and relax. They've been free ranging now for about 4 weeks. They use about a full acre and seem to migrate to the same places at the same time of day. They like to visit the horse stalls to see if the horses dropped any food and they especially like the horse apples lol. Nothin' like hot buttered corn I guess...

Chickens, Bees, Horses, German Shepherds,
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Chickens, Bees, Horses, German Shepherds,
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post #28 of 34
After 30+ years.........the first week of April I get 13 Welsumers, 7 EE'sand 6 dark cornish. yippiechickie.gif The coop is nearly finished. A repurposed one car garage in which the main flock will occupy an 8 X 14 foot section and an 8 X 8 section will be for cornish/brooding etc. The rurns will be a main run of 8 X 40 with 3 seperate 10 X 20 runs to use in rotation,

I hope to keep them all happily in these runs on a nearly full time basis. They will hopefully help with the tilling of my raised bed gardens as well as the turning of compost. I hope to incorporate these chickens into a more sustainable lifestyle as yet another piece to the puzzle.

Although the preparations have already started the adventure truly begins in 3 weeks when the chicks arrive yesss.gif

henry
Edited by shadetech - 3/14/12 at 5:50am

Live to learn, Learn to Love.

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Live to learn, Learn to Love.

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post #29 of 34
Due to living in the city I can't let mine free range. They have never been outside the brooder or coop . My coop isn't huge and it's on wire off the ground to protect them from predators ( we have opossums and raccoons and snakes around here).
All in all they seem very happy. I give them unlimited food/ water and treats every day. They see my kids playing outside next to them most days and have an ample sized nesting box.
I don't think they know any different so I really don't think they mind! It keeps them safe which is really all I care about, we also have hawks overhead all day so if they were out I think I'd loose them to a hawk. I only have 2 chickens in the coop and will be adding he other 2 when fully feathered. You can look at my pics to see my coop-my dh built it. We just added more nest box area today to give them room when the babies are older.
I think being very clean is a key to a smaller coop too. I fully clean it and put new line shavings in each week and will be adding de this summer to keep bugs out.
I think taking good care of them is the most important thing! smile.png
Mom of 5 wonderful kids, 2 dogs, 1 bunny,

1 Rhode Island Red (Henny Penny) and 1 Barred Rock (Mrs.Cluck) and 2 Production Reds (Popcorn and Chicken Little)  

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Mom of 5 wonderful kids, 2 dogs, 1 bunny,

1 Rhode Island Red (Henny Penny) and 1 Barred Rock (Mrs.Cluck) and 2 Production Reds (Popcorn and Chicken Little)  

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post #30 of 34

Good question(s)!  I can't give definitive answers, but I'm pretty sure that if the chickens have proper food and free access to water within an adequate (if enclosed) space, then they should be fine.  As others have said, you can certainly add all kinds of chicken-safe bits and bobs to a run to make it more interesting and stimulating for your flock, but it's probably not really necessary.

 

While our chickens spend a majority of time in the run (because of location, environmental and our work schedules), we do let them free range every chance we get.  Why?  Because they LOVE it.  I don't think there is a permanent chicken run anywhere in the world that can keep grass alive and well in it (because the chickens will eat and tear it all up), and chickens LOVE grass.  Whenever we approach the run, the whole flock is at the door boking and pacing and waiting to rush out.  They love scratching through the brush and leaves in the wooded portions of our property, digging up worms, slugs, grubs, and all sorts of other critters that they just can't get in their run.  So while they don't need to go outside the run, they really seem to like to, and we live to appease them. big_smile.png

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