Afraid to free range!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sunny Chicks, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    I have 13, 13 week old chickens, and they've eaten all the grass that was in their run. So they really don't have anything in there to peck at and eat besides the occasional bug that flies in or any fruit I give them. I've let them out all together maybe two times, but never let them go anywhere really. We have around 4 acres of land, with lots of lawn, but also woods surrounding the land. The coop is at the very edge of the property, really close to our neighbors house. There's tall grass that is behind the cool and I'm afraid if they go in there they'll make it to the woods and won't come back. We have a lot of wild life around like hawks, turkey vultures, weasels, and coyotes, plus my neighbors cat comes around every few days to hunt for mice.
    I know the chickens would love to be out of that run, but I'm afraid they'll run off and won't come home, or something will get them.
    Help!
     
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could try supervised free ranging, my hens for some reason never go in the forest. If your chicks have been in the run for a while, at sundown they will come back, the only thing I would worry about would be the predators (and vultures don't kill chickens but they will eat a dead chicken).
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013
  3. McGobs

    McGobs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2012
    My coop is right on the edge of the woodline as well. I do have 2+ acres of fresh mowed grass for them to free range on...but, they prefer the tall grass and woods behind the coop. And honestly...thats probably the best place for them. Best place for cover in case of an attack. But at the same time...at some point your going to have to expect an attack. Its almost inevitable if you free range chickens.

    They may take off out of your sight...but I REALLY doubt they will go very far. And unless something happens to them, they will all come back.
     
  4. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Tall grass would be a safe place if a hawk happened to pass by but for the ground predators it could also benefit them.
     
  5. Kefa55

    Kefa55 New Egg

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    Sep 2, 2013
    We live in the center of about 1500 acres of wooded land. We free range and the only time we lost a chicken was when the pen door was left open. A coon got through the fence and killed a chicken.
    We close them up at night and we have not lost a chicken during the day time yet. If your chickens are roosting in the building they will return at dusk. You might want to talk to your neighbors about loose chickens. They tend to eat flowers.

    Bob
     
  6. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Thank you everyone. We're planning on being outside a lot today, and might let them out then.
     
  7. kitinwest

    kitinwest Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2013
    I think it's smart to start letting them out for short periods of time. I'm doing that now with my 7 week old chicks. Someone suggested to let them out late in the day to make sure that they learn to return to the coop at night. It seems to have naturally worked out that way for us, because I didn't want to leave them free while at work during the day. So far, so good!
     
  8. Sunny Chicks

    Sunny Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Great, I'll try that later today!
     
  9. kitinwest

    kitinwest Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2013
    Mine are outside all morning here so far, and they are definitely wandering a little farther than they have in the afternoons! They are staying together though and within the yard. I think they're just exploring to find what might be good to eat!
     
  10. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My 8 week old chicks stay outside all day, when the sun starts going down they come back to the door and whine to be let in ( because currently I'm keeping them in a ferret cage in the house). They never stray too far though.
     

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