free range chickens

Doronxl7

Hatching
Jul 30, 2018
6
9
9
Hey there,
So I started keep chickens around 8 month ago, from 1 day born to hens and they always been inside a coop.
2 weeks ago a friend of my uncle gave me his old coop (I didn't combine the flocks) and 4 old hens around 5-6 y.o. that have been free range for the past 2 years.
So, I'm thinking to free range only the older hens with a 7 month old marans rooster to the yard.
Any opinions on how to do that and if I should to?
Theres only feral cats and sometimes stay dogs around my yard as predators. No large birds that can harm an adult hen also at the country. (at night fox's and mongoose yet theyll be looked inside the coop for the night)
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,692
8,540
626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
Once you get chickens it wont be long untill the reality of what preditors you have start showing up.
Secure the old coop you have. Block any holes or gaps with boards and hardware cloth.
I would recomend a secure run for when you are not home.
I stray dog will wipe out your birds in less than 10 minutes.
Everything eats chicken, and they are defenseless.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,692
138,596
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
Hey there,
So I started keep chickens around 8 month ago, from 1 day born to hens and they always been inside a coop.
2 weeks ago a friend of my uncle gave me his old coop (I didn't combine the flocks) and 4 old hens around 5-6 y.o. that have been free range for the past 2 years.
So, I'm thinking to free range only the older hens with a 7 month old marans rooster to the yard.
Any opinions on how to do that and if I should to?
Theres only feral cats and sometimes stay dogs around my yard as predators. No large birds that can harm an adult hen also at the country. (at night fox's and mongoose yet theyll be looked inside the coop for the night)
There is no such thing as risk free free ranging. Word seems to get around in predator circles when dinner is available.
With foxes, if they get into your coop you are likely to lose a lot of chickens. When you free range the chickens do at least have a chance of escaping.
My view is if you decide to free range you should free range them all.
You are likely to get fence fights and other bad behavior if the free range chickens can see those in a coop and run.
Stray dogs can be a major problem. I get them here, or rather I get stray owners with their dogs.
Maran roosters (I’ve had a few) are large enough to make some predators think twice about an easy meal. Most can fight but those I’ve had haven’t been aggressive enough to make good flock protectors.
I would always free range if at all possible. You will doubtless lose one/some chickens in time but they will have had imo a better life than if they were kept in a run.
 

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