Advice for free-ranging?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mattake2, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Mattake2

    Mattake2 Out Of The Brooder

    86
    0
    39
    Jun 11, 2008
    I'm wanting to let my gang out of their coop for a couple hours a day but I've never done it before. Do they know to go back inside or will they just run off? What time of day is best? How long should they stay out?

    Yep, I'm brand new & have no idea but I hear that they should get out & see the world... or at least a couple acres or so. [​IMG]
     
  2. tomstephens

    tomstephens Chillin' With My Peeps

    141
    0
    119
    May 23, 2008
    Charlotte NC
    I let mine out everyday. They wander back around sundown. From my experience (which isn't much) I'd say pick a day or two a week rather than a couple of hours a day.

    They don't typically wonder too far. Pretty much only within sight of the coop. But I have a wooded area around me so I don't know what they'd do on a cleared land.
     
  3. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    148
    2
    111
    May 19, 2008
    How old are your chicks? If you have kept them in a run for 12 weeks or so and if in the run at night they go in the coop on their own you should be fine with letting them out. They will come back at night. Also don't put feed out on the day you are going to let them out. That way when you need them to "come home" go out there and feed them and they should come a running back.

    Good Luck

    Nick
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't know how familiar you are with other peoples' free-ranging experiences, but just in case, I will mention that you should only do it if you are ok with the idea that you may lose one or more of them.

    Hawks, dogs, daytime raccoons or foxes, whatever. It happens. Decide ahead of time whether the risk is acceptible to you.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. smom1976

    smom1976 too many projects too little time!

    May 2, 2008
    Pensacola, FL
    I just let mine out today for the first time.. they just stayed near the door and the shed.. they didnt go to far.

    Then I just shooed them back into the pen.. but they really darted back in there anyway when something startled them. I just want to let them out when we are outside. The kids were in the pool so I let them out. They ate the grass outside of the run.

    oh yea mine are 6 weeks old tomorrow [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  6. Mattake2

    Mattake2 Out Of The Brooder

    86
    0
    39
    Jun 11, 2008
    My gang is about 2 years old & I've considered the thought that they might fall prey to cats, dogs, coons, 'possums, etc. It's not very likely but I was thinking of letting them out when I would be outside with them.
     
  7. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    148
    2
    111
    May 19, 2008
    In all honesty. If you have had them for 2 years and nothing has tried to get them you are probably pretty safe to let them out.

    I live on 50 acres with a major hwy running in front of my house and I have let my girls out to play during the day while I went to work, 30 miles away mind you, and only my own dogs getting out and eating a couple has been my problem. We have lots of stray dogs in the area and I am sure there are hawks and such.

    Just start letting them out for a while, when you are home during the weekends and see what happens.

    Cheers

    Nick
     
  8. Mattake2

    Mattake2 Out Of The Brooder

    86
    0
    39
    Jun 11, 2008
    My dog runs free & I'm almost 100% that he has considered a drumstick so I'm going to chapperone the free-ranging for a while. Although he did kill a baby raccoon last night! I was shocked when I walked out on the deck this morning to see it lying on the doormat. It's really small, probably a couple pounds.
     
  9. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    148
    2
    111
    May 19, 2008
    The way I trained my dog was to take her in the run with me one time and as soon as she chased a chicken she got scolded and spanked. I did this for about a week. After a week she didn't want a thing to do with the chickens. Now she just lays in the yard and the chickens will almost walk over the top of her. It is so funny. Just have to train the dog not to want the chickens.

    Now my great pyrannesse was the problem child bc she is a guard dog. So when she got out the chickens were a target. Most of the time she is happy with the goats. But silly me left the gate unlatched. She has learn to pull the gate open and did so and when the chickens came near the barn it was game on.

    Good Luck

    Nick
     
  10. Jacky'sMamma

    Jacky'sMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

    160
    0
    119
    May 16, 2008
    Antelope, CA
    I am still trying to figure that out! Mine have been in at night and out during the day for the past month... but sometimes I go out to close them up and there are two or three in the coop and the rest are hiding under bushes in the yard! Other times they all turn up to go to bed!


    [​IMG] WHO KNOWS?!?!?!? [​IMG]


    Heather
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by