First day of free ranging - I'm in love

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pequena Bandada, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

    Jun 13, 2010
    I've had four chickens (they're 16 weeks old now) for a month, and today I decided to let the girls out to try free ranging for a few hours before bedtime. It was fantastic! I don't know who loved it more, the chickens, or me. I could barely pay attention to my husband and kids I was so busy watching my chickens discover the world. I was amazed at how quickly they moved around the yard, all four of them basically running from spot to spot. They covered at least an acre in four hours. But the best part? They went back into the coop around 8:15 with no prompting from me.

    Everyone I know in real life would laugh at me, but I was so proud of my girls! They did it! Wandered around, ate bugs, picked at plants, took cover when ravens flew over, and were smart enough to remember where they sleep. This is what it's all about.

    (thanks for letting me share)
  2. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Congratulations! I'm hoping to try the same thing with our "city chickens" when we move to our new place in the country this week. I have a feeling it'll be a while before I stop watching for hawks, foxes, etc. and just let them be. I bet I'll be just as tickled as you are at the girls.
  3. I let my girls out for the first time tonight too! (all together, anyway. The kids like to let them out one at a time) They all made their way back home, but didn't go in the coop...they all hopped on top. Goofy girls. [​IMG]
  4. 2dogs1cat

    2dogs1cat Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    My hens have free ranged the yard for awhile now. I love that they go to "bed" at 8pm on the dot. Wish my kids were that easy.

    FYI, keep an eye on them, they may discover a way out of the yard and then the chase is on - we have a 4ft fence and even with clipped wings they have visited the neighbor a few times *sigh*
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Do periodically, call them in with a treat can, sometimes you might want to round them up, before 8:00.

    As to telling people who understand, yep we do, what I am wondering is what is wrong with the rest of the world. ;-)
  6. fratermus

    fratermus In the Brooder

    May 1, 2010
    Point, Rains county, Tx
    Quote:Chicken Ranging just might be the best part of my day. I let them out in the last hour before dusk and clean their water or do other maintenance as they scratch and wander. It's delightful.

    You've stumbled across one of the major secrets - letting them out later in the day leverages their instinct to roost as the sun gets lower in the sky.
  7. Beekercat

    Beekercat Chirping

    Aug 23, 2009
    Gainesville, Florida
    I'm going to have to try later in the day - I let the girls (and juvie boys) out during the afternoon last Saturday and my dog and I were a WRECK trying to keep track of them. Of course, after sticking around the coop and run for a long time, they ventured into the heavy "jungle" we have (it's Florida after all) and of course, Mira (the Chihuahua chicken herder) and I felt the need to follow them. Ticks are NOT our friends, lol. What can I say? I'm a noob. [​IMG]
  8. NC29mom

    NC29mom Songster

    Jun 15, 2010
    Scotland Neck, NC
    We can let our flock out at one o'clock or five o'clock, when it's time for Rocky Rooster to go to bed, he calls his girls back to the coop and inside they all go! Nothing better than having an awesome rooster to do the work!!!!

    I just love letting my chickens out, and in this blistering heat, it's probably better for them. They are able to get under our tall bushes/trees and stay cooler than having an industrial type fan blowing on them in their shaded coop. I just put extra water around in the shade (with blocks of ice in them) so they are reminded to drink.
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    There's nothing I enjoy more than watching my chickens free range. [​IMG]

    To my adult flock it's a way of life, all they've ever known. Goodness help me if the day ever comes when I have to confine them for some reason.
    The chicks are the funniest though. They all line up at the door when they know it's time and everybody tries to get out first to get the best selection of bugs.
    What I am really enjoying is teaching my rescue meaties about free ranging. They were so scared at first, but are finally getting the hang of it.
  10. shellz131

    shellz131 Sams Memory Lane

    Jun 28, 2010
    Malone Ny
    I love letting my chickens free range [​IMG] I have a total of nine chickens right now and 4 of them are my all day free rangers, they get out themselves and go back in by themselves. The other 5 wait for me to open the gate in the afternoon and then they go out.They are such funny buggers ! lol It is like I have two small flocks each lead by one roo ! [​IMG]

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