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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by momofthree, Jun 1, 2010.
At what age do you start them free ranging?
Mine were outside from age 2 1/2 weeks, but with constant supervision.
I stopped watching them so closely when they got some size to them - about 16 weeks.
Now they free range all day and I check on them a few times a day. I always run out if I hear an unusual noise from my roo.
like outside of a run? mine have a nice large run and they go out into that every day.
I am wanting to let them roam the property, but i am scared i will never get them back we have 10 acres with a pond. One time last week, one escaped the pen (door not shut) and hid in the underbrush by a tree and we very nearly didn't it out
If you want to be sure, just wait until they consistently coop themselves up from the run in the evening. Once they know where to go for home, you can take out the fence and let them have a go at the whole property, they will come back (unless they get that broody itch and find a nice place to hatch some eggs).
Mine are almost 9 weeks old and they free range. The only predators they have when the free range, unless they make it into my fenced yard, is cats. But we recently "lost" a couple of chick eating cats after they got one chick..
Edit: BTW, after the one attack, they have developed their warning system already too (right now they are not free ranging by the adults, some will start this weekend)
They spent about 1 week in their coop/run (2 nights I had to put them in their coop, just cause they were scared of the ramp). Then I let them free range supervised for a couple of days, and now I leave for work at 6 am, and they are out and about until about 9 pm. (As teenagers, they do stay out later than my adult flock). When I am home, I do check on them a couple times a day, but they are so funny you can't help it.
ok, here's another thing we don't live at the 10 acres where they are at right now. there are lots of dogs roaming, but usually only come over when they see/hear us over there. would you all still do it, or only let them out when we are at the property.
Also, how far do the chickens usually roam? do they stay relatively close by?
they do coop themselves up at night, except for one or two stragglers, who i go put up.
I don't trust dogs and chicks, thus we have a fence around our yard for the dogs (and chains when we aren't home), and the chickens get the rest of the property to free range. If my dogs were roaming around free, my chickens would not free range.
Quote:If you are still putting any up, I would not free range them until they know where to bed down at night
Quote:My chickens roam where they feel safe. As newbies, they will stay close to the coop/run, and stretch out as they get comfortable with their surroundings. After a week, my teenagers get about 50 feet away from the run, my adults will get a lot further, but still stay pretty close because that is where their food and water is.
I have cats. They are respectful of the adult hens, but I won't be allowing the youngsters to free range until they are comparable size to the adults. That said, they would have been perfectly capable of free range and not getting lost after about 6 weeks I think.