Free Range Or Not To Free Range??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by baxtersbeauties, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. baxtersbeauties

    baxtersbeauties Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2008
    Stoneville NC
    I am new to the chicken world. I have 15 hens. They currently have access to a building where the roosting pole is and then I have built them a small lot that is attached to the building where they can go in and out as they please. This lot is totally enclosed with wire to keep them safe from predators.
    My question is, should I let them out of the lot? Would they come back on their own? Is there a big difference between free range chickens and non free range chickens?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!![​IMG]
  2. redkan

    redkan Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2008
    Central Maine
    They'll most definately come back but when you free range you run the risk of loosing your chickens to predators, sometimes several at once. [​IMG] You have to decide for yourself if that's a risk you're willing to run. Another option is supervised free ranging (which is what we're doing while we wait to catch a fox family) or keeping them cooped/penned. I'm going to be loosing my goats soon and plan on converting their pen to a large chicken run, although I haven't quite figured out how to "roof" it. I'm tired of the heartbreak of loosing my favorite chicken so am now reconsidering allowing them to be free range. [​IMG]
  3. fushalilly

    fushalilly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2008
    Rhode Island
    MIne are free range and return to the coop every night, and I just drop the door and open it in the morning. Works great and havent lost anyone.
  4. Weewanona

    Weewanona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2007
    Wilburton, OK
    I also free range. Open the pen in the a.m. and close in the p.m.

    My food bill is less for them by free ranging and I think my chickens are healthier and produce better eggs with all the 'goodies' they find.

    I have lost the occassional bird by doing so. But you can lose them in the pen to so many things that the risk (for me) is an acceptable one.

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