Can I start free ranging my 12 week old chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Willow's Meadow, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2010
    Or are they to young? What age did you start free ranging your chickens? My are in their coop at night and outside in their fenced in run during the day. But I want to start free ranging no fence.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    My chicks with broody hens are out the first week of life. Otherwise, I usually start when mine are 12-14 weeks old, with us outside watching.
  3. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    In my opinion, it's not so much a matter of age but of safety. There is no age that is too young to free range, exactly, but if there are predators around that will hurt them when they're small, then you need to wait until they're older. I expect it also depends a lot on how your property is set up.

    For me, i used to free range my chicks starting at 3 weeks or so (unless they were with their broody hen like SP said). But then my dog got some motherly instincts that call her to "bathe" peeping chicks, which often kills them. So now, i have to wait until they grow bigger, or isolate my dog while the chicks run.
  4. spottedtail

    spottedtail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2007
    They are old enough, but all free rangers should expect losses.

  5. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Ours were out at 12 wks with supervision, at 16 they were on their own. No problems until 22 wks when a hawk tried but missed.
  6. chickfamilyonsleepyhollow

    chickfamilyonsleepyhollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lots of predators love baby chicks so we watched over them anytime they were out of their run until they were 14 weeks old [​IMG]
  7. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    I am with the rest.they are so open to preditors with out a mom or rooster to watch out for them.even domestic cats are a threat at this age.
  8. cheri222

    cheri222 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2010
    Erie PA
    We started free ranging ours at 8 weeks. Our yard is fenced and we only do it when we are at home. No issues yet and they are going on 12 weeks. Sometimes they are butt heads when its time to go in. There are 5 girls and 1 roo. We just added the roo and no problems.
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My chicks are out "free ranging" in the fenced yard at 2 weeks, with me always there to supervise. I provide less and less supervision as they get older. My younger flock is now 13 weeks old. I check on them about once an hour. They stay inside the fenced yard for the most part, except for short and fast excursions outside the fence.
    My adult flock free ranges all day, locked in their coop at night.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010

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