first time free ranging--on a part-time basis!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by raisingkane, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. raisingkane

    raisingkane In the Brooder

    May 9, 2007
    Our chicks are a little over 3 months and their rather large run seems pretty sterile these days so I penned up the dog (fair is fair) and opened the gate to the chicken run. What fun it was to see them out in the grass pecking and scratching! Gus, the dog, has been here longer and so his rights supercede the girls, but we're looking at penning him up in the late afternoon so our chickens can have a bit of freedom too. At 8:30 they found their way home and all I had to do was shut the door to their house. Anyone else free range on a part-time basis? Any problem with this?
  2. Marc33

    Marc33 In the Brooder

    Jan 26, 2007
    We have done this as well. We didn't have trouble with our dog (our dog leaves the chickens alone but goes for the eggs!). However, we have always found that eventually the chickens' range gets larger and larger, and starts to interfere with my neighbors - most recently to the detriment of his vegetable garden. So, our chickens are back to being penned up. But, there is no question that our girls are so happy when they're allowed out to forage for grass and bugs. Good luck!
  3. We began by only letting them out close to sunset. And although we like having them out all day we know that there will be days when they can’t come out b/c we’re busy. IMO any time out is good! They seem to have such a great time.
  4. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    This isn't going to answer your questions, but I finally let mine out for a while yesterday evening. Before I had only taken a few at a time, and twice led them across the yard to the run before I moved it.

    I might feel safer doing this part-time. Not everyone came out (funny, the banties were less interested than the standards, only one banty came out of the coop/run) and I had to keep shooing them away from a large brush pile that might have snakes, and I had to keep an eye on the kitten who refuses to be put away from the chickens. (Can you say "new playmates!" ... I don't trust that cat though!) AND I had to chase the ducks off with a rake. Kupo pulled some feathers from one of my babies within seconds of them coming out of the run!

    Didn't see any hawks (not sure I could've done anything in time if I had) but I watched. And it took me a while to get them all back in ... they go in the coop easily, but returning from the yard was different, apparently. They were having TOO much fun!

    I was a little nervous trying to keep up with so many chicks heading in different directions, and so many sources of danger (though most of the dangers were very low-key). Hehe, two of the chicks seemed to think the duck-pool might be interesting ... don't know WHY they thought that!

    Two sides ... if you limit the exposure, perhaps you limit the possible dangers. Then again, with limited exposure, perhaps you lengthen the learning curve and it might take longer or might be less effective for them to learn to be safer out there.

    Like I said, I know I'm not answering your questions. I'm just learning myself.

    I do wish more of them would come when I call. Most do, but not all. And even though they come, that doesn't mean they walk into the run afterwards.

  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    We also have to lock up our great watchdog to let our chickens free range. That concerns me because he's 100% on keeping the coyotes and other predators away but he'll make a meal of chicken as fast as lightening so ... in the garage he goes.

    If we are home to keep an eye on them we let our chickens out for about two hours each evening and they put themselves to bed and we go lock up.

    Since we haven't been able to let them out the last three days we put our dog in the garage at 1:00 today and have let the chickens out all day. This has been a bit more stressful for me as I know the longer they are out and about the more chances of them being eaten.

    Our chickens found our barn and they bee-line there when I open the gate. They love the horse and llama manure that was left when we mucked the stalls.

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