Afraid to free range!

Sunny Chicks

Songster
6 Years
May 18, 2013
103
3
104
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!
 

Veer67

Songster
7 Years
Jul 2, 2013
3,613
180
231
Together with the flock
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:

McGobs

Chirping
7 Years
Jun 13, 2012
121
3
81
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.
 

Kefa55

Hatching
6 Years
Sep 2, 2013
6
0
6
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
 

Sunny Chicks

Songster
6 Years
May 18, 2013
103
3
104
Thank you everyone. We're planning on being outside a lot today, and might let them out then.
 

kitinwest

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 21, 2013
27
0
22
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!
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!
 

kitinwest

In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 21, 2013
27
0
22
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!
 

Veer67

Songster
7 Years
Jul 2, 2013
3,613
180
231
Together with the flock
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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