Confused about outdoors...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chickaroos, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Chickaroos

    Chickaroos In the Brooder

    Mar 6, 2012
    I see some people keep their chicks "free range" and let them wander around the open yard. Others I see in a confined space...
    I have plenty of land and just bought a huge roll of wire fencing. I would like to install the fence and put the coop inside of it and let the chickens roam around their large area with the coop left open.
    Is this a bad/wrong idea? Im guessing I should close them in their coop at night to keep them safe from animals, but would they be fine durring the day? & if the space is quite large will it really be nessasary to have a cover of some sort to keep them from flying out????

  2. ssellis

    ssellis In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2011
    South Carolina
    you will need some protection from preditors and you can trim wings to keep them from flying over fence
  3. felidaet

    felidaet Songster

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    A fence is not going to keep flying predators out. Where we live I don't let the birds free range unless I am in the yard. We have lots of hawks and bald eagles flying overhead that would love a chicken dinner. And just a few days ago I had a smaller bird attempt to attack one on my 3 year old hens. I was standing no more than 20 feet away when this happened. I think the attacker was some type of a falcon. I have heard these are around here but I had never seen one before.
  4. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Songster

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    If you're going to enclose a small area and it's practical to cover it then that would add protection. On the other hand it's not really practical to cover a large open space which I think is the situation you are in. I would just fence in your area with the field fence you have and let the hens fend for themselves. For the most part I think your hens will be too preoccupied with searching for bugs on the ground to be thinking about hopping over the fence.

    We live in a suburb of Portland Oregon (Vancouver, WA just like felidaet above) on a residential lot and let our hens free range in the backyard. We had a neighbor knock on the door to tell us that a bald eagle had swooped down into our yard and tried to get one of the hens. Apparently she saw it coming and ran under a bush before the eagle could get her. It's just one of the hazards of being a chicken.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012

  5. kittycooks

    kittycooks Chirping

    I think it depends on the predators in your area. I have many hawks at my current house, but weasles, coyote and dogs were the big concern at my last house. Chickens love to free-range, but be emotionally prepared for possible loss if you leave them unattended.
  6. Carolyn227

    Carolyn227 In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    We free range only when we're home. They go back to their henhouse in the evenings and I lock them up good and tight. We have a lot of racoons in this area and I worry about them getting to my hens. I probably won't let the new chicks free range until they are pretty big and trustworthy.
  7. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Songster

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    I allow mine to free range, and you will have losses. I lost three my first year. Some people never lose any while free ranging. My uncle has turkeys guineas chickens pigeons etc and he also has a MAJOR raccoon problem. He's killed over a hundred raccoons last summer. A rooster will also help protect the girls from predators. Most will attack anything that comes to hurt them. No matter how big. I herd a story one time of a hawk flying around and a rooster flew up and attacked it as it was going after a smaller bantie hen. The rooster was killed but all the hens went to safety and made it out alive.

  8. Hoosierchickens

    Hoosierchickens Songster

    Jan 9, 2011
    Cloverdale, IN
    It's not wrong to let them free range in a fenced in area but plan on losses. As has been mentioned, flying predators may be a concern but you can minimize losses by providing structures and bushes for them to run under to hide from birds of prey. Your fence will offer minimal security from other predators who can climb over, through, and under your fence. In this situation, you will definitely want to close them up in the coop at night.
  9. dreamer5577

    dreamer5577 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    It definitely depends on the types of predators in your area. Around my house I have tons of hawks, so I never let mine free range unless I am in the yard.

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