Free range vs run

abigail_dom

Chirping
Apr 1, 2020
72
173
63
Monroe Pennsylvania
Hey all,
I just wanted opinions on how you keep your chickens, I free range mine but was wondering what your opinions were on it. I had an accident with a weasle/mink yesterday and I'm weighing my options if I should turn to a run rather than free range. What are your thoughts?
My chickens are in theif big run for most of the day but they get a hour to free range before it gets dark! On days when its extremely hot I try to let them out around noon as well so they can find bushes to hide from the heat in.
 

Quiggy

Chirping
Apr 27, 2020
63
65
53
@Quiggy, you asked how I get mine into the coops? Bribery!! Mine LOVE scratch and I open the garbage can where I store it, yell, "Chick, chick," and run toward their coops with a scratch-filled scoop in hand. The way to my chickens' hearts is truly through their stomachs as they dash into the coops for the treat.
I'll have to try that! Catching them one by one definitely wouldn't be an option haha! Thank yiu!!
 

chickenhappy1233

Chirping
Oct 15, 2020
137
241
70
i have a timer on my coop door, it opens up at 6 am and closes at 9 pm, my 6 bantams love to free range and would make to much noise if they were locked up. there are quite a few hawks around but they havent seemed to notice yet. hopefully they never do, we have good tree cover here
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,608
23,447
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
For those who allow free range on weekends/ or while at home only, have you noticed your chickens being especially grumpy while confined?
Nope, mine are used to being in the run most of the time, and so actually prefer being in the run. Even when they come out they'll start heading back in on their own if I don't actively encourage them to stay out.

I'll have to try that! Catching them one by one definitely wouldn't be an option haha! Thank yiu!!
How to train them to come to you: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/come-chickens.1425124/#post-23445038
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
Sep 26, 2015
2,030
2,457
357
Portland OR
We do 100% run, 6ft chain link with hardware cloth wired onto it top to bottom- and the entire enclosure is covered in netting. Around here the predators are quite bold. I had a hawk dive on a momma hen and her little babies with me standing no more than 10 feet away from them within days of moving our chickens to this property. Had it not been for the tightly secured net- death would have been certain. That hawk one tried diving 3 more times (bounced off the net each time). I haven't had any weasel issues that I know about, but we tried hard to make it hard to get in. Anywhere there was a low spot that left a gap, we dug pig panels wrapped in hardware cloth down into the low spot, then wired it to the fence.

The coop is also beefed up in the security department. There's hardware cloth between the siding and the walls of the coop, floor to ceiling- along with over both sides of the windows - under the floor - and the ceiling has framed hardware cloth panels both for predator resistance and to keep the chickens out of the rafters and away from wiring.

The tall posts (3 feet into the ground) hold the net up throughout the run, as does the rain shelter so walking around is easy enough- no net scraping the top of the head (a mistake I made at the last property).
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The inside ceiling:

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Inside coop windows (construction was still underway). There's hardware cloth behind the walls and under the floor. There's even hardware cloth under the ridge vent.
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Outside:
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DoeAndGander

Songster
May 24, 2017
496
640
196
Southern Minnesota
My coops are about 10 sq ft/bird to allow enough space to keep them happy when completely locked up and through our frigid winters. I’m in the process of building a secure run on two of my coops. I have yet to lose one but there’s a 200 acre forest across the street from me so it’s a gamble. I have aerial and just about every ground predator you can think of besides bear. I free range only when I’m in the yard as I’ve witnessed way too many unwanted guests passing through. I’m hoping my secured runs give me a piece of mind but I doubt they fully will
 

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