Concerns about Free Ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PAChickenLady, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. PAChickenLady

    PAChickenLady Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 30, 2012
    I have four chickens - 2 GLWs, a white silkie and a blue silkie rooster. I keep them confined all the time in their run for safety reasons. We regularly see foxes on our property and my husband used to raise bobwhite quail...the little Houdinis escaped all the time so hawks have come to recognize our property as a buffet.

    We have a large backyard and I would love to let my chickens roam around to forage, but I am afraid 1) of predators, 2) that they will wander off, and 3) that I won't be able to get them back into the safety of their pen when I want them in.

    Any advice?
  2. farmer boy

    farmer boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    well i free range and there are foxes around me but i have roosters and dogs .. i raise silkies and they free range with the rest but its more dangerous for the silkies because they can't see as well as the others and their kinda dumb lol ... you could maybe make a big fenced off area of grass and put some netting type stuff on top for the wild birds don't get the chickens but for the foxes if you have a dog there wont be a big problem with the foxes but if you don't there will be a problem and if u have a big rooster or to then a younger fox wont be a problem ... rooster are good to have if you have hawks or eagles because they make this call type thing to tell the hens to hide ... do you have fencing around your yard ??
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    3) They should have little trouble finding way back into pen.

    2) They should not wander off unless frightened before they learn lay of land.

    1) Predators are a concern always but you can reduce much if outside with birds as they forage. Some predators will attack even then but you can at least give predator more to think about by chasing predator. I have interupted foxes, dogs and hawks during to day and you can make difference. Always have a broom or rake handy.
  4. wberry85

    wberry85 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2011
    Milton, GA
    A good dog should solve most of your issues. If you dont want to go that route you could invest in some electric netting. It can be rolled up and moved around very easily. You will have to come up with something to protect from hawks but it should take care of anything 4 legged. I dont think hawks are much of an issue for full grown birds as long as a good rooster is around. I have lost pullets to hawks before but I have yet to lose one with my roosters guarding the flock.

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