Can I free range 3.5 month olds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mandolinmama, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    We've got other chickens who free range but we've been keeping our 3 and a half month old pullets in their run. Are they too young to free range? They're already as big as our bantam chickens but I just don't want them let out too early.
    I'd love to see them have the chance to explore the yard with the others.
    What do you think? What's the standard age for allowing free range?

    Donna Sue
  2. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
    They will be fine...mine have been free-ranging since they were 8 weeks old.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    They will be good. I let mine out at about 6 weeks if they are standards and 8 if they are bantams.

    Edit: They learn fast to let the big chickens have their way.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  4. farmgirl2477

    farmgirl2477 Songster

    Apr 2, 2007
    Oviedo, FL
    I let my chicks free range with thier mammas around 3 weeks old. We live in FL, so its plenty warm for them.

    Good luck with your babies!
  5. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    So long as there won't be any problems with bullying from older chickens (like, you've introduced them alright) then they'll be fine. When I bought Lily (a bantam araucana cross) at ~6 weeks, she was already free ranging.
  6. iwanteggs

    iwanteggs In the Brooder

    May 1, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    when the temperature was warm enough they started free ranging.
  7. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Do all you free rangers have a fenced in yard? We want to free range but don't have the yard fenced in at all. I was wondering if their going to get stolen by some critter!
  8. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    I started free ranging mine as soon as they went out to the coop, at 4 weeks. I keep the light on so they can come in and warm up cuz it's still cold here. They come out and play for awhile, then go back in and get warm, then out again, all day long.

    It's interesting to me that at this age they stay within about 20-30 feet of the coop right now.

    There is one BYC'er who raises her chickens like this from day 1, can't remember her name but she is very knowledgable. I know I took a risk, but I trusted her info and it worked.

    There are a lot of opinions and techniques here, most all of them work well. You just have to find what works for you. If you are nervous about your chickens, you will want to keep them in the coop longer, for your own mental health. But I trust in the info I have found here, and in my chickens natural instincts. That works, for me and my chickens.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Quote:Exactly. If you have a 10 x 15 yard for your birds... probably should't let week olds have free range of it with your adults. If you have a few acres though, and the pens are not side by side, it's probably fine if you want to open the door for the babies to see the world. Just gotta remember the local preds and the risks at the same time though and do what works for you.
  10. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    I built my chicks a "safe zone" when I introduced the chicks(hatched late February), to keep them safe from bullying adults.

    To build the "safe zone" I used cattle fence(field fence) to fence off half the coop. Cattle fence is the fence that has smaller holes at the bottom and gradually get larger as you go up the fence. The bottom holes are about 3"X5", large enough for the little ones to get through and even a desperate adult standard bird. This has worked great and the little ones know where to run if the get spooked or pecked by the adults.

    Mine stayed a few days locked in the coop before I opened the door and let them free range. I put them in the coop only a couple weeks ago(remember they were hatched late February) and they have done great. They stayed near the coop, if not in it, for the first week and gradually get farther and farther away from the coop.

    I free range mine without any fences. Yes, with any kind of free-range there will be predation, it is to be expected. My predation has been to a bare minimum of a fox attack last fall and a couple incidents with the dogs when they were younger. But, other than those few incidents, I have had very little predation. I lock my birds up at night and when they free-range in the day, I make sure to keep the dogs out with them.

    My system has worked very well for me, especially the "safe zone."


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