Fly Free??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chickaroo!, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Chickaroo!

    Chickaroo! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2007
    [​IMG]I don't let my chickens free-range. I don't want them to "run away" or stray into my neighbors yard and potentially get attacked by any dogs. Should I worry so much about these things? Does anyone think I should be feeding them anything special since I don't let them free-range or should I just stop being such a worry wort and let them fly free?
     
  2. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickaroo:

    I do not free-range my birds as I don't want to combat predators. I do have my birds in a coop with access to a large covered run. I prefer to provide a secure environment for my birds. If you feed a good commercial feed (Conventional, all-natural, or Organic) and supplement with some green feeds such as vegetable scraps, grass clippings, or hay you should be in great shape.

    Jim
     
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    They won't run away -- they'll always stay relatively near the easy food. That doesn't mean that they won't decide a neighbor's yard isn't within their territory. Predators will always be a consideration, whether from the ground or the air. That said, the taste and color of my free-range eggs makes it worth taking the risk and letting them wonder through the paddocks and around the house.

    If you would rather not take the risk but still get more of the flavor of free-range eggs, you can go to a pet store and buy supplies of crickets and meal worms, go to a bait shop for some juicy red wigglers, mow your lawn often and give the grass trimmings to your chickens, regularly serve them your dinner salad (without the dressing)... There are ways to bring the flavors of the range into the pen.
     
  4. picklespickles

    picklespickles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2007
    mine run around but everybody's situation is different.

    i have two that fly but have never run away. one has flown to the other side of a fence once and then come right back and the other has done it twice. the second they see you with food they're back of their own accord. i think they sort of establish their natural boundaries. for instance, mine have one area of the yard where they never go even though they could. so i imagine there is not enough cover there and they are afraid of predators or maybe hey there are no good bugs over there. i don't know.

    i am not a chicken cuddler but they still know this is their home. even if one did get out, chances are it would come home at night. the habit behind the saying,,,,,,,his chickens came home to roost.
     
  5. Chickaroo!

    Chickaroo! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2007
    [​IMG]
    Thank you so much for everybody's input. I feel like I am making the right decision about keeping my chickens in their coop/run area. I was afraid the'd get bored, but I do visit them several times throughout the day. I do give them salad and often pick dandilion weeds for them. I'm even trying to "breed" my own mealworms for them! I think, though, that the person I bought them from didn't take such great care of them. They were free-range and I'm not sure if he ever wormed them. Two have recently had worms. I've been worming them. Today, one laid an egg without a shell (I think). It was scary. Has anyone ever had that happen? I sometimes mix oyster shell in their food, so I'm not sure why this happend!
     
  6. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Shell-less eggs aren't uncommon. Look under the "Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying" forum for the "2 eggs in one day" thread. It's nothing to be alarmed about.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    [​IMG]My DH built this coop. We have 6 RIR's. We have several acres and have hawks, cayotes, racoons, foxes and possums around. A neighbor who has been letting their chickens free range, has lost several chickens during the day to cayotes that have come into their yard and snatch chickens. Our coop and run are moveable. The run is covered with chicken wire also. We have a gate for access to a netted area. We have a net that we net off an area for them to range in and so far so good, no critters here. Here is a picture. We have a door on the side of the coop opposite from the window. The nest boxes are located next to the door with outside access, so that we can collect the eggs from outside the coop. Every night my girls go into the coop on their own. I do go out before dark and scatter some oats and scratch around their feeder and also in their litter. Usually when it starts to get dark they go into the coop and then I go out and shut their hatch. Which I can do from outside the coop too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    More pictures. The first picture was taken before the nest boxes were added.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008

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