Free range chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by madmantrapper, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. madmantrapper

    madmantrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    0
    119
    Apr 15, 2009
    Maryland
    If you free range, do you make sure they are in at night and closed so they can not get out? Will chickens get in the inground pool? How far do chickens usually stray from the coop?
     
  2. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    Quote:YES put them in at night. Chickens drown, but they shouldnt go into the water- unless they dont know its there or gets frightened into it some how. They dont go far from their coop- especially if their food and water is there.
     
  3. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Mine come in every night. Most predators will go out at night, so don't want them disappearing in the middle of the night. One night my DH left one chicken out... guess who was gone in the morning [​IMG]

    They don't stray very far during the day. They can fly over the fence easily, but choose not to. *knocking on wood*
     
  4. tackyrama

    tackyrama Chillin' With My Peeps

    460
    1
    131
    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    When you first move them from the brooder into the coop leave them in for several days so they know where food and water is. I left a light on in the coop for the first week but I don't think this is really neccessary. After they get settled in let them out in the morning of a nice day and they will go right back in in the evening. Don't worry about the pool. They will use it for drinking only. A chickens natural range is about 200 yards give or take.

    My flock is free range and they have never failed to return to the coop in the evening usually one or two hours before the sun goes down.
     
  5. madmantrapper

    madmantrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    0
    119
    Apr 15, 2009
    Maryland
    My chickens are starting to roam farther and farther from the coop. Today they were about six hundred yards away at a neighbors house. They did not get upset but they said if they wanted poop all over the place they would get their own chickens. I guess I'm going to have to fence in a run but I sure don't want to.
     
  6. Terri

    Terri Chillin' With My Peeps

    493
    0
    119
    Dec 1, 2008
    Level Cross, NC
    [​IMG]
    I just started letting mine out, I always lock them in the run at night, but I do leave the pop door open into the run.
     
  7. citrusdreams

    citrusdreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    586
    0
    129
    May 4, 2009
    I free range mine all over the property. They do not go in the pool, but they perch on everyone's water troughs and buckets to drink from them. I believe they're healthier this way, and I don't have to feed them a fraction that I would have to if they were penned up all the time.

    They come in every night about dusk. I usually just close the pen so they have access to the henhouse and their pen. But lately I haven't been closing them in. I like that they don't have to wait for me to let them out, but I'll probably end up closing them in soon.

    The guineas roost in a tree when the weather is nice though all winter they go back in with the chickens.

    They should all return to their henhouse and you can just lock them in and let them out again in the morning.
     
  8. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,719
    12
    171
    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Definitely build a run for your chickens. If I got a comment like that from my neighbor, I'd take it seriously. The next one might not be so jovial.

    Chickens will put themselves to bed at night. But it's up to you to close and lock their door so that they don't have any night time visitors of the deadly variety.

    If you have a run, then the chickens can be outside all day, on THEIR terms, and you can come and go without worrying about them. When you free range exclusively, you never really know what's going on when you're not there to watch them. And let's be real - who wants to do that ALL DAY?

    Unattended free rangers are exposed to all sorts of trouble, namely: neighborhood dogs, hawks, raccoons, coyotes/foxes, cats. Spend some time over at Predators and Pests and then decide. There are plenty of folks who exclusively free range, and of course the chookies LOVE it, but losses are expected. I don't think my nerves could handle it...
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  9. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    303
    2
    131
    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    We free-range our flock in the fenced in portion of our yard. They have about 1 1/2 acres to roam and they use it all.
    This past year has been our first with chickens, and we have been lucky so far about preditors. Last fall we had a scare with a young hawk. Everyone was fine, but I had to close them up in their run for a week to be sure.
    We have seen foxes in our yard in the early morn. and late evening. Now we have a border collie who patrols the border several times throughout the day. He seems to be doing the job. Even the groundhogs are laying low. This is the first year they didn't climb the garden fence and take all of my brocolli. Now, the true test will be when the peaches ripen!
     
  10. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Some of mine stay close to the coop, others go far back in the woods or into a nearby clearing where DH feeds corn to the deer (so he's really feeding chickens). They all return to the barn at night, but some are much later than others. I've been leaving the door open a bit (yes, I know it's risky) so I don't lock anyone out. I have never had an issue with predators. I'm surrounded by forest and only one neighbor.

    They should be locked in at night. I'm thinking about a run for most. Maybe just leave the sumatras out. They're quick and great flyers.

    I had an 8 wk old chick drown in a bucket of water. I'm sure they don't choose to go swimming, but If they fall into the pool they may not be able to get out.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by