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Free range question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by snazzyboots, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    We have 4 hens in the city. They are about 5 months old. Over the last month or so we started letting them free range in our yard increasing the time they are out. Now they are out all day and put themselves to bed at night. My question is with the days getting shorter they will be going to bed earlier. There are days when we don't get home til 7:30 or 8 pm. Will they be ok asleep in the open coop til then or should we leave them in on those days? They are in a fenced in yard and haven't shown any inclination to leave. There are stray cats but I've never seen them in the yard. Thanks for any advice. These are our first chickens and we love them [​IMG]

  2. Thespoiledchicken

    Thespoiledchicken Songster

    Sep 12, 2011
    Long Island
    At my house the raccoons come out right as it gets dark so I have to lock up immediately or else they would get eaten. I would worry for them if you have any predators near by. I would leave them in to be safe!

  3. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    It kind of depends on your risk tolerance. If you would absolutely be devastated if something got in the coop and killed your birds while they're roosting, then I'd keep them in their run on the days you'll be home late. If you're like me and figure that something could get them while free ranging as easily as when they're roosting with the door open, then let them out.

    This earlier sunset thing is a real pain in a lot of ways, isn't it?
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Do you have an older neighbor or kid nearby who could close up the coop for you at sundown for some eggs in return? They really need to be locked in at dusk when they go to roost or they will be gone soon.
  5. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. We would be devastated if something got them. However we are fully aware that they are at risk just being outside even during the day. They are so much happier being out that we decided to risk it and hope for the best.
  6. Davian

    Davian Chirping

    Sep 8, 2010
    Vermont, USA
    Every night you dont lock them up before dark is a roll of the dice for a passing raccoon to notice them.
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Racoon and passum will be a threat. Even you have not seen them, yet! I found out I have fox in my neighborhood after it raided my coop. Have not heard about cats preying on chickens.

    The chickens will return at sunset, regardless of hour of the day

  8. RoosterRanch

    RoosterRanch In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2010
    Waverly WV
    Take my advice and LOCK THEM UP. Predators are always looking for an easy meal and will give you a false sense of security for a very long time until one day you come home to a VERY ugly scene. With winter approaching, food is more scarce for Raccons and foxes etc so do yourself a favor and LOCK THOSE GIRLS UP>
  9. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    I've decided to lock them up on our late days. That was kind of my thought but I'm very thankful for all the advice. I can always count on the byc peeps for help. [​IMG]
  10. mommissan

    mommissan Songster

    Jul 4, 2011
    There are automatic door openers/closers. I don't have one, but maybe someone here has one that can elaborate?

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