Do your chickens free range when you are not there?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dancingmama, May 23, 2010.

  1. dancingmama

    dancingmama In the Brooder

    Jan 17, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    I have a small-medium yard in a small city, fenced in. It's fenced in well enough to keep the chickens in, but there are lots of trees and such, and no doubt if something like a raccoon or coyote really wanted in, it could likely find a way.

    My question is.... can I let my chickens free range, with access to their tractor, while I'm at work? Or are they too vulnerable? I could just let them out when I'm home? Are predators a problem during the day, or mostly just in the evenings and night-time?

  2. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Northern California
    Never! I live in a *big* city and live on the edge of a year round stream. when I let my girls out in the evening to free range, I'm always with them. Once I watched a raccoon walk past the back of the property, and hawks are always nearby. My girls come running when I call them and that's important if potential danger looms.

    Additionally, I think dogs in the neighborhood would soon learn the whereabouts of your chickens and they would be in danger.

    It's not worth the risk.
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Can you? Sure (unless there's a local law specifying what type of enclosure you must maintain your birds in and your yard doesn't meet those requirements), but personally I wouldn't risk it. I live in a small city with a small fenced backyard and I won't even leave my dogs outside when I'm not home (aside from the fact that my fence isn't really so tall they couldn't jump it if they wanted to and they know how to lift the latch on the gate). I haven't seen predators out and about during daylight hours in my immediate neighborhood, but several blocks over I have seen 'possum trundling down the sidewalk as late as 10am. Not to mention the increased potential for chicken escapes and two-legged pest problems. Ultimately it's up to each person to asses the risks of free ranging in their neighborhood and decide if it's worth it. I know of at least one person here in town who free ranges their chickens all day long with a 4' chain link fence (I don't know if they are home during the day or not though), and that's on the same block where I saw the 'possum in broad daylight. But it's not something I would be comfortable doing.
    Last edited: May 23, 2010

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