Best age to free range


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 26, 2013
Mount Juliet, Tennessee
I have a flock of 12 with full coop and run privileges but my ultimate goal is free ranging. I want to come in from work in the afternoon and give them 2-3 hours of hunting time. I understand the predators and everything I just wanted to know if I could or should let my 8-9 week olds out now or is it better to wait until they are bigger? They will be under supervision anytime they free range and will be fenced in with 1/2 acre to play in. Let me know what you think
How long have you had them? They should know that the coop is the safest place to be so if it gets dark or there is danger, they will go back to the coop. If you are going to leave them out till it gets dark, they need to know to get back without being chased by you.
I let my 8 week old chicks roam around free range the whole day with my older silkie bantam near my deck, they never stray too far. Sometimes they will visit the garden but I wouldn't trust my chicks to go free ranging around the whole yard. But if you are going to fence them in and supervise them, then I would say that it would be fine as long as there is shelter to hide under. My 8 week olds know to come to the door when it gets dark, they let me know they want to come in by chirping loudly and bumping the door ( they live inside in an old ferret cage, I will move them when I think that they are ready).
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Mine started free ranging at 8 weeks (maybe younger-I'm not sure the lady I got them from had their dates right).

Anyway, I didn't have any adult birds. I kept them in the coop/run for a week. Afterwards, I opened the door and let them start to explore and left the door propped open. They stayed within a foot of the door at first. Every little thing spooked them and they'd run back into the run.
Now they're 18 weeks and get pissy with me if they don't get to do their walkabouts so they really enjoy it.

They won't be nearly as brave as adult birds so it'll be weeks before they take advantage of an entire yard. Mine are now 18 weeks old and still stay within 25 feet of the run.
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