okay, so i hopped on here so i could investigate ideas about true free range. i have no strong opinion either way other than i want my girls to roam and they have told me that would make them very happy! i have 4 girls that I have loved for almost a year now and am sold on being a backyard homesteader. my husband built a beautiful coop when they came to join us but i feel like they need more room to roam. the coop he built is identical to the Williams and Sonoma coop...without the $1700 price tag! so, we are toying with the idea of opening up a side of it and opening the side of our dog pen (that goes unused) right beside the chicken coop so they have more room to roam. dogs pen is wooded and full of treasure for the girls to explore. we also have two cats that have been around the chicks since birth. the cats may or may not go after them. i am guessing our dog and two cats will protect them before harming them and because of the animal presence in our yard we have zero predators because Jack, Sophie and Daisy take care of that in short order. so, am i a fool to let the girls roam in a bigger fenced area? am i just asking for a death in the family? will they fly away?