Free range advice

Carrie Michele

In the Brooder
Jun 5, 2017
16
0
12
Good morning

I have a flock of 7 that are full grown. We live on five open acres with no fence. It is forest behind our six foot wood fence yard. I have recently kept them in the run because they poop all along my back patio. They normally free range the yard but the flies and poop are nasty. My question is can they begin free ranging around the property with no fence? I don't want to lose them but it's taking a risk of predators. We havea long driveway as well but barely any people behind us full time. Will they wander too far from our house? Or will they stay close to their comfort zone? I read a couple hours before dusk is a good time to let them roam and they will come back into the backyard. Any tips? We have not touched the land behind us and will eventually build a barn back there.

Thanks.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
Sure they can free range without a fence. If you got chicken killing dogs or predators around they want last lone. Yes I would turn them out a hour before their roost time---for a couple days, then add a hour the next time---keep adding. I usually wait till about noon to turn my layers out---with hopes most will lay before that time. My Mom turns hers out and I live 2 doors down---about 200 yrds and they will come in my yard and I have seen them past my house.(my chickens are 1/2 mile from my home, on the back of the farm---no houses) So yours might end up at a neighbors house----you will just have to keep a eye on them and see. Also keep in mind flying predators---hawks if you have them--- can and will wipe you out over time.
 

Carrie Michele

In the Brooder
Jun 5, 2017
16
0
12
Sure they can free range without a fence. If you got chicken killing dogs or predators around they want last lone. Yes I would turn them out a hour before their roost time---for a couple days, then add a hour the next time---keep adding. I usually wait till about noon to turn my layers out---with hopes most will lay before that time. My Mom turns hers out and I live 2 doors down---about 200 yrds and they will come in my yard and I have seen them past my house.(my chickens are 1/2 mile from my home, on the back of the farm---no houses) So yours might end up at a neighbors house----you will just have to keep a eye on them and see. Also keep in mind flying predators---hawks if you have them--- can and will wipe you out over time.
So. My layout is like this. They have a chainlink run inside my backyard. Behind my backyard is forest. Trees, bushes long grass etc. Lots of places to hide. However, my front acreage is open prairie where I have seen hawks. But have not lost a single chicken even while they have never been in an enclosure in the backyard for over a year. I can't say a hawk never flies over my backyard because it's all wildnerness, but honestly seen them hng out in front of my property.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,388
17,766
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I would not extrapolate based on a single year of observation. You will get hit and possibly hard at some point. Fences for me do not contain flock, at least not by themselves. Threats also do not seem to emanae edges, fence rows, streams, and contours in the landscape.

Can you post an image of property using google earth?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,956
11,359
636
western South Dakota
If you free range, there is a risk, could be occasionally, could loose the works. I have found it does not have to be all or nothing.
Don't free range the same times each day, sometimes all day sometimes late afternoon. Don't free range if it is very windy or cloudy, gives more advantage to predators. When you do get hit, go into lock down for several days. I find the more they free range, the farther they go away from coop/run. Many people on here do not think a rooster really helps, but a good roster more than a year old has helped me.
 

adstowe

Songster
Aug 8, 2016
387
518
181
Colorado
I free range mine. On my land they are in no danger of reaching a house or road unless they want to go a half mile. Still, even with my current roo who's expanded their range, I doubt they hit 75 yards. Id say the distance they roam is going to be bases a lot on your particular flock. I've got one barred rock hen who probably doesn't go more than 30ft from the run. She just watches everyone else leave and goes about her business.
 

NotSoChickenLove

Chirping
Jun 1, 2017
113
76
76
NZ
My minimal experience tells me that chickens don't care about fences. They'll stay in the area if it suits them but they can get out any time they like. Mine have a quarter acre to free range in, but I don't allow them out unless I'm home to check on them at regular intervals.... and encourage them back to where I wanted them to be. There aren't many predators here, just house cats. No ferrets, weasels, hawks, foxes or snakes to worry about.
 

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