Free-range all together?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by QChickieMama, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Songster

    Oct 1, 2011
    This may be a very silly question, but I still feel quite new at all this bird business. :)

    If I have 4 pens of chickens, can I let them all out at once to free range?

    I have a tractor of 6, a tractor of 5, and 2 pens of 2 each. All hens except 3 roos. If one roo would serve the whole flock, I could get rid of 2 roos.

    Thanks for helping a novice.

  2. jenifry

    jenifry Songster

    Jun 26, 2012
    South Dakota
    My friend has 30 chickens, and 4 roos, and they are all together all the time. When you introduce them, the roos will probably fight, and even the dominant hens. When I intigrated 2 roos into my little flock, the dominant hen put the rooster in his place with quite a 3 minute fight, now everyone is fine. I think it would depend on the breeds you have.

    By my count, of what you wrote in your question above, you have a total of 15, 12 of them hens? One Roo should be able to cover 12 just fine, unless you are trying to breed without crossing.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You do not indicate age of birds so I assume they are not yet fully mature. It is very likely the birds are all imprinted on their respective tractors / pens and will return to them each night if able to roost. They are imprinted on their tractor-mates and will associate with them and generally not get along with birds from other tractors, regardless of gender. The groups will likely conflict when coming together around resources like feeders or cover but conflicts should not be a significant problem.

    I run similar every year and groups do not generally start to mix at roosting time until pullets start laying. They will begin to prior to that but will still prefer their broodmates.
  4. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Songster

    Oct 1, 2011
    The tractor birds are all 1.5-3yo. The 2 separate pens (4 birds) are 4-5 months old.

    I would hope that they would return to their regular roosts at night since I don't have 1 pen large enough for all.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by