Free Range the birds while Im not home?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Biglurr54, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    Now that the weather is starting to get nicer out my rescue chickens are itching to get outside. The second I open the door in the morning they are trying to get out. I can ussually heard them back into the coop before I leave for work. My question is can I just open the chicken door for the coop before I go to work? I live in the country in upstate NY. I have 30 acres so i wont be annoying neighbors. I currently have 5 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Pekin Ducks. I let them out on the weekends and they seem to be fine and always go to roost at night. Even the ducks leave their puddles and waddle into the coop at night. I am away from the house for 8 hours during the day so they would be alone during that time. There are hawks in the area. i just saw a bald eagle flying over my house this weekend while I was cutting fire wood. Theres plenty of cover for them to hide under and lots of things to jump up on. Also their Coop will remain open. I know i run the risk of losing a chicken here or there. Everything I read talks about the risks and benefits of free ranging and i want to let them run wild but I always grew up that you only let them out when your home.

  2. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Our chickens free range every day. When we leave, we just make sure they are all in the back yard with the gate closed. We have hawks around, but they don't bother the adult chickens. When we have chicks, we have to be way more careful. We also had a problem once with a fox, lost 7 adults in 2 days, have had a coyote come in and take a rooster, and then there are the neighbor's dogs (lost chickens every morning until I told her that animal control told me to shoot the dogs on sight).

    In my humble opinion, the joys of seeing happy chickens running around our property outweigh the risks of predators.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    I have never heard that you should only let them out when you are home suggestion/rule/procedure. Hmmm. I'm still puzzling/mulling that over. My being in the home and in house while they are out of their coop doesn't offer any protection from predators.

    I'll just say that we do let the chickens out and leave the house on a regular basis. Our chickens also have plenty of cover and some aerial predators. They love being out and about and I love to let them out so that they can act like chickens and "live the dream."

    I usually don't let them out, though, if I'm not going to be back before dark to close the coop because nighttime predators are more of a problem around here. Of course, they always go in the coop or up into the trees (if I'm having training problems) around sunset, but that door open is an issue.
  4. Biglurr54

    Biglurr54 In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2014
    Wonderful. My chickens will be living the dream tomorrow! I have all the parts ordered to make an automatic door opener so they will be locked in at night regardless of how lazy i am that night and they will be free every morning. In the winter I have to load my wood boiler at night so I always am down at the coop around dusk. Come summer time though the boiler wont be running so I wont be out as frequently so the automatic door will be great. Thanks for the quick responses.

  5. Eva Haley-Lock

    Eva Haley-Lock In the Brooder

    Mar 14, 2014
    absolutely. if there are any serious predators around, find ways to stop them. have a high fence, but if you have a garden, DON'T let the chickens get into it.

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