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

Happy Camper

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 19, 2012
347
11
98
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.
 

Jenny1

Songster
11 Years
Sep 22, 2008
140
8
128
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.
 

itsthelaw37801

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 22, 2012
456
18
98
Lenoir City, TN
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.
 

DianaMallory

Songster
8 Years
Jul 20, 2012
729
166
206
Lancaster Ohio
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.
 

dsfrango

Songster
8 Years
Sep 12, 2011
839
51
186
Stafford Springs
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
 

Happy Camper

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 19, 2012
347
11
98
Puerto Rico
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!
 

lbrtyldy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
72
8
31
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.
 

Jenny1

Songster
11 Years
Sep 22, 2008
140
8
128
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.
 

MANNA-PRO

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