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Being a weekend sheperd?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bantamkelley, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. bantamkelley

    bantamkelley Out Of The Brooder

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    There is a huge open pasture with some forests, short grass feilds, semi-forests, and a pond. I was thinking I could save feed, make the chickens happier, and entertain me by letting the chickens free range while I was watching them while fishing or taking a strole. Would I have to clip their little chicken wings? There are coyotes but Ithink there are in the next pasture across the road behind it and we just hear them at night. Is this a good idea considering the facts?
     
  2. wsmoak

    wsmoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    As long as you're mentally prepared to suffer some losses, let them out, they'll have a great time. (They are unlikely to fly off, wing clipping should be unnecessary.)

    The first time you let them out, do it in the late afternoon. They won't venture too far initially, and will naturally go back to their coop to roost when it gets dark. You can progress to letting them out any time, but realize they won't necessarily want to go back in just because you're done fishing!

    It also helps if you train them to return to the coop so you can get them back in when you need to. I take a red cup with scratch grains and shake it while calling "chick chick chick!" They come running and I can shut them back in.

    -Wendy
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    There is a huge open pasture with some forests, short grass feilds, semi-forests, and a pond. I was thinking I could save feed, make the chickens happier, and entertain me by letting the chickens free range while I was watching them while fishing or taking a strole.

    You can let them free range, but don't expect them to go more than about 100 yds from the coop.
    They don't like wide open spaces much​
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    My chickens and I have a daily stroll into the front yard every evening. They won't stay out there unless I'm with them but it's something they really look forward to every day. I started doing it in the evening exactly so they'd go back in at dusk and I wouldn't have to chase them. Now, they come RUNNING when I ask them if they're ready to go out front. Then they do their round of the front, and in about 45 minutes are ready to go back. I stay out there with a long stick, like a staff, and herd them back if they go over the "line" - and they rarely do. They know how far they are allowed to go. Stick is also in case a dog comes by.
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Good advice. I'm not a fan of altering chickens. I won't use lights, trim their beaks, trim their feathers ETC. I figure they need their wings to get away from predators. But I live in the country some Back yarders I guess have to keep them from going to the neighbhors. Guess, you gotta do what fits your situation.
     
  6. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eudora, Kansas
    They would love that! I couldn't have chickens if I couldn't free range mine. I don't feed most of the year because mine get all the bugs and stuff they want free ranging. The eggs have been great, no problems with them laying or shells or anything else. So I know they are healthy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  7. ChickenMack

    ChickenMack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be careful with free ranging with known coyotes so close- they love chicken. And if they get one, coyote word gets out that there are free chicken dinners and your flock will be gone. Do you have a rooster to range with them and keep watch? Or maybe a dog?

    You know, it isn't cruel to not let them free range as long as they have a safe chicken yard to wander around in and stretch their legs. You can suppelment in so many ways to keep them busy. In fact, there is a post in this section today about toys for chickens, take a look if you haven't already.

    If you choose to free range them, please do not clip their wings, this inhibits flight and they will need it when predators come looking for chicken dinner.
     
  8. bantamkelley

    bantamkelley Out Of The Brooder

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    So they wont fly away? The coop is on the inside of my fence so can they just follow me? I was thinking about getting a wagon with a cage and just loading them up. Thats why I would want to clip their wings. Im going to get a rooster and have a lovely english labrador retreiver that is great with people but awful with unintroduced animals.
     
  9. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens can't really fly in the wild bird sense of the word. They can flutter and hop-flit a few feet, or up onto a perch they want, but they aren't going to go winging off in a v like geese.
     
  10. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    The coop is on the inside of my fence so can they just follow me?

    They "can", but they WON'T​
     

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