Free Range or Not?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SunChick, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. SunChick

    SunChick Songster

    Feb 23, 2007
    Bel Air, Maryland
    I am considering letting my birds free range. That being said, here are my concerns. I want them to continue to lay eggs in my coop and not in my neighbor's hay which is where their birds lay--and elsewhere. :eek: There is no way to keep them from mingling with the neighbor's flock (unless I invest in a privacy fence which isn't a possibility). [​IMG] Will they return to their roost if they mingle, or follow the crowd and roost next door?

    Would it be best to keep them in their runs during the morning and let them out in the afternoon? I would like to cut down a little on the amount of feed they are consuming, and increase the color of the yolks. Plus I like seeing them out in the yard.

    Thoughts anyone? Thanks!
  2. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    I let my chickens out at first AFTER they laid the eggs.if you know when, maybe you could work around that.... I do however have 3 egg spots [​IMG] it just took watchin and listenin the first few days will NOT lay in hen house.only in monkey grass ! good luck , it is so fun to see mine running around the yard !
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2007
  3. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    I LOVE watching my chickens ranging and running all over my property and they love it too. I notice my birds tend to lay in the morning but they are let out first thing so they end up laying their eggs in the barn in the hay storage. Obviously they prefer that over their coops.
    As far as them coming back I would imagine they would but how close are you to your neighbor? Do their chickens come over to your place also? I can see your fear of them maybe moving in with the crowd next It seems once they know their house they are always good about coming back.
  4. Black Feather

    Black Feather Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    Hmmmm....that's an interesting question. I'm not sure if they would start going next door for the night or not. I think you'd have to try it first to see what happens.

    Do your chickens look like your neighbors chickens? Might be a good idea to wing band or leg band your own chickens to avoid any confusion in case the flocks get themselves mixed up.

    If you want to try free ranging your birds I would suggest letting them out for the first time close to dusk. This way they are more likely to stick close to home and go back to roost in their own coop. Everyday open the coop a bit earlier and hopefully they will get the idea to go back to their own coop at night instead of the neighbors.

    Good luck!
    Urban Coyote

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