free range - how far?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by klf73, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    How far do free range chickens go? I was planning on free ranging my chicks when they get big enough but didn't know how far they will go. Also, should we clear the underbrush from the woods? I know we have hawks, eagles, ospreys(not sure if they kill ckickens, but they are big) and we have coyotes and fishers. Coyotes are out at night so we can protect them from them, but the fisher is out during the day. I thought clearing the brush would allow for minimal sneaking up on but doesn't it provide cover from predatory birds? Ahhh, so confused. [​IMG] Maybe I should just put them in a run?

  2. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    Our five free ranged hens stay pretty much within the mowed acre surrounding the house. They will occassionally venture a few feet into the woods but mainly stick to the perimeter of the edge, which is nice because you can always find them easily! We don't do anything with our underbrush. Hope that helps!
  3. rjv_piper

    rjv_piper Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    Most of my chickens are on free range for an acre. Sometimes they go over to the nieghbors, but the neighbors don't care. Make sure you have a coop where they can roost in, because they will go in there at night. If you lock them up in it for a while then let them out after 4-5 days, and feed them, they will stay where feed and water are accessable. The brush would help for birds of prey. I'd lock the chickens up at night then in the morning, scout the area for fishers, and if you don't find any, let them out... but you are taking a risk. I'd have mine on free range, but be extra careful.
  4. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    My free range chickens will go to the neighbors, the next acre and I have to call them or atleast go get them. I have said this before, our chickens have ADD ADHD.
    DH puts up a 3ft high fence and it seems to keep everyone in the yard. Of course it is a large area and it only keeps the honest fox out and the honest chickens in. You need to make sure you have shelter for them, trees, tall grass etc.
    (these can also attract preditors)
  5. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maybe I'll just have the kids run through the woods with our beagles [​IMG] . Haven't seen the fisher much here since our first beagle was a puppy and chased it into a BIG hole, lucky we grabbed him cuz the fisher was at least 3x his size. I haven't seen him much near our house but I have seen him a 1/2 mile up the road, he used to store his food (ducks) in one of our sheds (tarp type). Shed is gone and dogs are bigger, now I only have to worry about my neighbors cat [​IMG] . Dh swears he is going to shoot it if it attacks the chickens, he's had it in for the cat for years cuz it always tries to hunt in our yard where the birdfeeders are.
  6. Becaco

    Becaco Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    All of ours pretty much stay around the house and horse pen. I wish that they would venture more out into the field and eat the grasshoppers that are out there.

    We have lost a few even with them staying close to the house. Only had one lost to a hawk. About 8 were breakfast for coyotes about 3 years ago. Lost a couple either to coyotes or dogs, I believe it was dogs.

    Haven't lost any to predators in probably about a year now.
  7. Miltonchix

    Miltonchix Taking a Break

    Jul 14, 2007
    Milton, Florida
    Mine don't seem to go more than about 30 feet from the coop. Most of the time its less than 20ft away. I wish they'd venture a little further as they have 5 acres of grasshoppers to eat right now. Mockingbirds just can't keep up with the !#&$#@& grasshoppers.

    I was VERY leary of letting them out at first. My gardern is next to the coop and I just KNEW they'd destroy it. NOT! The worst they've done is scratch up a couple green bean plants. Which was no big deal as the plants were pretty much done producing. Pole Beans are about 2 weeks away from makin' beans and they haven't touched them. .
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  8. GRAM49

    GRAM49 Songster

    May 7, 2008
    I'm an Indiana girl and have never heard of a "fisher". Can someone please explain what they are. I think I am glad we don't have any!
  9. riderbecky

    riderbecky Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Ottawa Valley
    Quote:Fisher or fisher cat is about the size of a large house cat. Looks a bit like a bear cub but with a long tail. Are members of the weasel family and are vicious like a badger. Won't hesitate to kill your house cat and small dogs, heck probably even a big dog. Chickens are a yummy treat. Are found in trees most often. Just because you haven't seen them doesn't mean there aren't any around.

    You can do a google search and find oodles of info about them. Hope you never have a problem with one 'cuz they can be hard to get rid of. But aren't most preds once they realize your providing them with a feathered buffet? [​IMG]
  10. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    I am glad that fishers are not in ND. I think they are mainly on the upper east coast.

    My Guineas put on a few miles a day. I have seen them in the ditch about a mile from home eating bugs all the way down and back. They are always back home at noon, for lunch time.

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