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Free Range??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BloodRedOrange, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. BloodRedOrange

    BloodRedOrange Hatching

    Oct 11, 2011
    Just curious if anyone out there is in the same 'coop' as me when it comes to 'free range' chickens. I have 1 rooster, 4 hens, and 7 (4 month old) chicks and we just got them 1 week ago and my husband has a coop built with no fence around them and I am scared they will run off! We have about 2 acres of land with space between neighboors but worried that they will run away! Anyone have a similar situation to help ease my fears of the chicken world???

  2. yankeedoodle300

    yankeedoodle300 Songster

    Jul 22, 2011
    Chicken Heaven
    Keep them in a fence for about 2 weeks, until they know where the food is, then I am pretty sure they wont run off, to far... JK on to far.
  3. maxxsmommy

    maxxsmommy Songster

    Aug 24, 2011
    I also let mine free range during the day, all day long with out a fence around and we have well over 40 acres on our property. From day one they have been out and about..and at night they go in by themselves and go to bed, I have never had a problem with them wandering off. By all means im not saying just let them out.. If you don't feel comfortable then don't do it. Its all trial and error in the chicken world. Not all chickens are the same as mine though. I guess you can let them run around and watch them for awhile.
  4. nickrex98

    nickrex98 Chirping

    Jul 2, 2011
    that was the same way for me but i have a fence around my yard [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  5. N. Virginia

    N. Virginia Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    You could get a temporary electric mesh fence if you don't want to build a permanent fence. Mine don,t run off with no fence, but I kept them locked up in a paddock for 6 weeks so that they knew where hme was.
  6. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Keep the flock locked in the coop for 2 days. They will learn that is home and will return at night. Start slow by letting them out an hour before sunset and gradually increase the time. Mine has an acre and pretty much stay put.

    If you have no fence, you might want to be sure that there are no predators.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I suggest you keep them for at least a week in the new coop, until they really learn where home is. After that, they should return to the coop every night as it starts to get dark.

    Should. It does not always work like that. For a variety of reasons, they may decide they do not want to sleep in the coop. Often, this is because they really had not accepted the coop as home. One week was not quite enough. It usually is, but you are dealing with living animals. They don't always read the same book. But a week is what I'd use.

    Chickens cannot see real well in the dark. If the coop is too dark while it is still kind of light outside, they may not be able to see well enough to go in to go to bed. Often a window or low powered light can help if this is the problem.

    Sometimes if they get a fright in the coop, like they see a predator in there, they may not want to go in there. That does not happen often, but it occasionally happens. Usually that is not all the chickens that refuse to go in in this case, but just a few of them.

    With the age of yours, one thing I would be on the lookout for is that sometimes, the older chickens pick on the younger chickens so bad when they try to go to the roosts that the younger chickens start looking for someplace else to sleep. Sometimes that is just somewhere else in the coop, often the nests, but a couple of times, that has been outside the coop for mine. It does not happen all the time, but if you see this type of behavior, you might recognize what is going on.

    With all that said about what might go wrong, I still recommend you keeping them locked up for about a week or so, then try it. Odds are pretty good you will be real happy with the results. Justb because something can gio wrong does not mean it will. Good luck!

  8. daver

    daver Songster

    Mar 11, 2011
    Linden, NC
    Quote:We did the same except left them in for a week. Started out about an hour before sunset and they did just fine. We are not fenced so I am out there with them to keep a look. Occasionally they will wander into the woods but never go too far.

    They will always be in the coop at sunset.

  9. wyododge

    wyododge Chirping

    Sep 30, 2011
    This is what we did. They are 20 days old here...

    Just a chicken wire fence. they were like that for about week maybe two. Nothing special, just chicken wire on concrete rewire we had around. Anything will work really. You could probably string rope or bailing twine, and hang old sheets over it.

    We got tired of walking around it, so it came down.



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