free range chickens???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aran, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    Hi guys...Im about to get my first chicks this about 3 days actually:D.

    I know I have a few weeks to figure this out but was wondering what everyone thinks about free ranging the chickens even if only for part of the time. We have 6 acres or just under. I have a 10x10x6' enclosed run I have built them and the coop is yet to come. I know we have fox, coyote and hawks around here...will my chickens be able to get away from them if I dont clip their wings? will they get away from ME if I dont clip their wings!?!!?!?

    Would be interested in your thoughts.

  2. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    free ranging works good.i let my hens free range from morning till then i lock them up for the nite.
  3. bayouchica

    bayouchica Songster

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    I free range mine all day, depends on what you feel comfortable with.There are risks with free ranging.
    I'm able to stay at home & watch my chickens through out the day.Two dogs of mine help patrol the yard.
    If ya spend some time with your chicks everyday holding them, they'll be more tame. Then that may depend on the breed you get.Oh yeah, if you treat them with mealworms/crickets when they are a little older they'll find out you're not so scary LOL !

    Have fun with your babies& good luck, Miriam
  4. Gracefulspice

    Gracefulspice Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    I can only allow my hens to free range from mid afternoon untill dusk. I work in the morning and I don't feel right not being here while their out and about. On the weekend I give them more time to be out because I'm home for the most part. If not my hubbys here. It is very hard to see them just about beg you to come out. That's when I through them a bit of scratch or pieces of melon, helps give them somthing to do till I can open the door to freedom.
  5. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    thanks wife and I are out most of the day working...I guess I will let them in their 10x10 run during the work week and I will let them out on the weekends..what do you think? I have 4 production reds, 3 production black and 3RIW pullets coming with one production red male from coming this week.
    (btw as you have probably guessed i have NO IDEA WHAT IM DOING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) My son and I chose the babies just based on the colours heheeheh
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I find once the hens get old enough, they know how to look for hawlks and get away. Don't have foxes here though so can't say about thoes. Most of my casualities were due to coons breaking in at night...
  7. MarkR

    MarkR Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    Ivy, Virginia
    I don't free range anymore, too many dogs roaming around the area these days and I'm not mean enough to shoot them anymore. In Virginia, we're allowed to shoot dogs that attack livestock and collect money from the owners to pay for any animals killed ($10 a chicken, not sure what other animals are valued at). I shot the first one (on his second visit), took him home, and felt so bad that I just can't do it anymore, let alone saying, "You're dead dog here killed ten of my chickens, you owe me a hundred bucks." The look on the owners faces just killed me inside. Plus, it's not the dogs fault, the owners let them run free, and they just do what dogs are supposed to do. Just too much for me. [​IMG] I'd rather contain the flock.

    My bird's pen is really big though (about 35' square for the four (soon to be six after I go to the poultry show this weekend) and a rooster). They have more than enough bugs. Plus, I supplement feed with a lot of green stuff left over in the fridge and from the garden so I'm still getting really yellow yolks which makes me happy. I've planted my pumpkin patch just outside the pen and I'm going to let a couple of them grow through the chickenwire (yes, I'll have to cage the pumpkins til they get big enough). I discovered that my birds love pumpkin last fall after my wife carved them a wonderful jack o lantern. We got to watch them pick the face apart over about a week. [​IMG] Very entertaining. Yep, that's some high living, there. We're simple folks. [​IMG]

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2007
  8. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    This has nothing to do with free ranging. I just thought I'd let you know, in case you don't already know. Ideal Poultry adds extra males with your order if you don't order a whole box of chicks. I've heard of people who ordered 10 females and ended up with 10 "males added for warmth".

    I had an order in for 1 male and 12 females and I upped my order to 24 females and 1 male so I wouldn't be stuck with a bunch of roosters.

    Like I said, you might already know all this.

    I get my babies the 1st or 2cd!!!! [​IMG]
  9. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    What's this about Ideal adding male chicks?

    Hmmm.... I have been wondering (IF we go ahead with this) whether to order from Ideal or from I was leaning towards MyPetChicken just 'cause there was no minumum order or box charge. That may tip the scales, because all we need is 4 baby girls. What on earth would we do with all those roosters?!?

    Have other folks had this experience with Ideal? How about MyPetChicken?

    Stacey & Olivia
  10. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    I was going to order from mypetchicken. It's true they can ship a small amount of chicks but that's because they add a sort of heat pad that you have to pay for. I think it's something like $25 for the heat source for 3-4 chicks.

    This is from Ideal's FAQs:

    What does MALES FOR WARMTH mean?
    It means that male chickens will be included with your order to provide warmth and comfort for the shipping of your poultry. We include males for warmth on any order that we feel needs the extra mass for shipping.

    This is from

    In Stock
    Your Price: $25.00

    For orders of 3-14 baby chicks, this shipping package is required. This surcharge covers the special shipping and heating method that allows us to ship such a small quantity of chicks at a time.​
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2007

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