About to free range my flock... very nervous. Please give me your ideas.

Happy Camper

7 Years
Jul 19, 2012
Puerto Rico
I have 10 hens and 2 roosters, 4 pekin ducklings and 4 BB turkeys I'd like to move from a fenced coop in order to free range. The area is fenced but the fence is not higher than 4 feet and is surrounded with high trees and bushes. I fear they will just go and I will end up empty handed.

I also worry about getting the Pekin Ducks to a safe place at night (meaning being able to "collect" them. And... will my BB turkeys just fly and leave? Should I wait until they are heavy to let them free range?

Thanks for all the advice you can give.
What about trying with just a couple chickens at a time, for just a few minutes at a time while you are there. Work with longer and longer amounts of time till you feel comfortable. Start shortly before dusk.
How long have they been in their home. If they have been there at least 6 weeks, I say go for it with the chickens. I take a stick that I use as a lead and just guide them back home. I am unsure about the ducks and turkeys. But I have guineas. The longer you keep them, the bigger they grow, the better chance you have of keeping them. And do you have a wing person that can stand guard and help you wrangle them in a few times?

Give yourself enough time to get them in, and I agree with the poster above to do it close to their bedtime the first time. (not w/ turkeys) If they are like guineas, they need to wear themselves out to go back home. There is a poster that I know that has ducks. Grawg. Look him up.
Well from my experience I will never free range again! I lost 2 flocks to predators and I have my new flock in a completely closed in coop/run! To heart breaking! Never want to find another flock in parts and pieces all over my yard! But I also live in the woods so I have no idea what kind of predators you have to deal with in Puerto Rico.
Agreed, if its been a few weeks the chickens would be fine. They have learned where food and water is and will go in automatically in the evening. Try letting half of them out at a time. I wouldnt recommend doing it while your not there if your in a heavily wooded area. Im sorry to hear that diannamallory lost entire flocks:( If its completely fenced in I wouldnt worry about ground predators during the day so much but more the hawks but those can be spotted out by a couple good roosters. Ive had mine spot out hawks before I even did haha
We don't have many predators except for a hawk-like local bird (guaraguao)... I think I am not ready. I stress too much about them being fine. Besides my duckilngs and turkeys are still too young. I think I will build big lightweight cages and let them get acquainted to that new space and probably go from there. Thanks a bunch!
I was nervous before I started free ranging my girls but now I stress if I'm not going to be home at the right times to let them in and out and they get stuck in their coop/run for the day. I have 2 big dogs who I think are mostly responsible for the fact that the only loss I've had in well over a year of free ranging is one chick to a hawk. The first few days are kind of a pain cuz we have had to gather some of the girls up and chase them back into their pens. After a few days, they just naturally migrate into their pen and then the coop as it gets darker.
I still say you should try it, if it is only for a few minutes a day while you are watching them. They are so fun to watch, and they really love getting out. I think it is pretty safe as long as you are there.

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