Free Range chickens.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 26, 2011
I'm thinking about getting some free range chickens to put on a range of about 1.5-2 acres. I actually have a lot more than that, but I'd like to think they'd stay somewhat need the house. What would you recommend? Breeds? Just general advice? Thanks!!
Dominiques!!! They are excellent foragers. I would suggest buying from a breeder vs a hatchery - you'll get better birds and the breeder will usually help you with advice on care, etc.
Really? I wouldn't have even thought to consider them! Guess I just haven't really had any expirience with them. Did you say they lay well? Because I will have nesting boxes in their coop and would like them to somewhat contribute to the egg production. Thanks for the suggestion!!
Barred Rocks are known for being great rangers, and if they are bred well enough than the real standard of the breed does not even eat much feed, and prefers to find food on their own. All of my BRs have always been the best at finding bugs, flowers, even mice/rats.

Plus, they're such eye candy to look at put in your yard!
Honestly ANY commonly found breed are good free rangers. There's a lot of people who free range their poultry, and all they have are the standard hatchery mix of Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps, Production Reds, and Barred Rocks.

To me, the best birds at foraging, free ranging, and staying alive in such situations are American Gamefowl and Araucanas. (and I'm sure European Gamefowl fit in there, too)
I have heritage breeds out on 15 acres of pasture. The property is 400 ft. wide. When I had just the Dorkings & Buckeyes, they stayed in the pasture. Then I got Delawares, who decided to cruise over to the neighbor's property to eat the newly planted grain field.

The neighbor called & threatened to charge me for their crop and I had to put 1500 ft of netting over the dividing, barbed wire/field fence.
I separated the Delawares for breeding, put them in with the sheep in a grassy paddock with field fence and had to teach them to stay in that area. The rest of the flock can't get through the fence any more but still roam out of the pasture into the olive grove to eat the olives, which is fine.

I know a lot of people use electric poultry netting and I do, also, sometimes. I can't use it when the cattle are in the pasture because they get tangled in it. Young chickens go right through it and some fly over and have to have their wings clipped.

Overall, I've had great success free ranging my chickens. This was just a story that I thought I'd share.

I free range my partridge rocks. For staying close to home go with larger breeds BUT they will eat you out of yard. BOs are great but they take alot more food than the plymouth rocks. If you want a mix of breeds with color here is a short list. Any rock, buckeye, new hampshire, any wyandotte, EE, sexlins, any sussex,RIR, delaware. That gives you some choises in brown layers. If you want white you will have more flighty chickens but good layers.
Wish I could free range,but.... Live right on a major highway and even though it has a 5 ft fence,I'm afraid they might fly up on road. Also have a pool open in summer. Sure don't want them getting in there.

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