Free range vs run

kimdk

In the Brooder
Apr 3, 2017
4
2
31
I let my chickens out to free range when I am home. Not that I can stop an attack from a predator but if/when it happens I am there to scare it off and gather my gang and lock them up. I will then keep them locked in the run until I catch the predator, who will always return for a second go of it. I decided I want my chickens to enjoy their life free ranging and will take the loss by an attack. I have an automatic door for the coop and I close up the run access every night. Do whatever you feel is best for your crew :)
 

Vicker

Songster
Jun 28, 2014
132
224
133
Texas
No simple answer here. I have 5 acres and have gone through so many variations on keeping my flocks over the years. Total free-range, covered run, movable run, free range for 2-3 hours before dusk. There have been spells with stray dogs and coyotes that have altered my methods. I used to have hawk problems but hit on a tactic to prevent attacks (black chickens and crow decoys). My problem now is that we spent a lot of back-breaking time and money on some landscaping and vegetable beds that the birdies love to dig up. They have to be watched like a hawk (pardon the pun) when they roam free. And letting them out for a little free time only makes them more prone to escape the run on their own. If the chickens and I could have our choice, it would definitely be free range.
 

Vicker

Songster
Jun 28, 2014
132
224
133
Texas
For those who allow free range on weekends/ or while at home only, have you noticed your chickens being especially grumpy while confined? I've seen other posts on BYC in the past where that seemed to be an issue for some chicken keepers.
I don't know about grumpy, but mine definitely get focused on escaping after having a taste of freedom.
 

mbitzer

In the Brooder
Dec 18, 2019
7
12
19
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?
We keep 9 hens. Over the years we have had some loss, mainly due to predation. Hawks, coons, possums and neighborhood dogs when we free ranged. We have settled on an electric fence which has eliminated everything but the hawks. When the spring/summer foliage is good we give a big area, which includes fencing in the woods. When the foliage is off we restrict the area due to hawk predation. We also have a not often used trailer in the area to provide cover.
 

Chickens 4 Acres

In the Brooder
Oct 3, 2020
11
44
41
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?
Have you considered a chicken tractor? It's kind of the best of both coop and run.
 

ChickenMamaLissa

In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2020
21
24
23
No simple answer here. I have 5 acres and have gone through so many variations on keeping my flocks over the years. Total free-range, covered run, movable run, free range for 2-3 hours before dusk. There have been spells with stray dogs and coyotes that have altered my methods. I used to have hawk problems but hit on a tactic to prevent attacks (black chickens and crow decoys).
In recent years we have switched to a covered run in part because we’ve also done some landscaping/planting produce. But we’ve had more attacks with a run; I think because when something does decide to have a chicken dinner, the dinner has no where to run. The falcons have been especially bad. At one point, one perched on the fence and hopped under the cover and chased down the chickens in the run. I’ve never heard of using crow decoys. Are they effective for all birds of prey? Or just hawks?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
88,104
106,898
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop

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