Free rangeing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by theguy67, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Hi,

    I have not posted in a while so here it goes. I have a flock of 2 roosters, 5 hens and 3 chicks. The 2nd rooster was bought as a hen. They are kept in a 7x12ft pen with all walls/roof covered but the front and a side wall. Thier coop is a small box in the back. I was wondering if my flock could be free range or is it to small? I am thinking about converting the pen into the coop and add perches and more nests. Would I need to close it up completely inorder for them to use it at night? I don't want to be rounding them up with a net every night.

    Last year we had skunks get in the pen and kill some hensoar night so that's another worry. So as long as they return to the coop/pen before sunset it should be possible.
     
  2. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not an expert in preditor proofing coops, but I can speek to a few other questions.
    You have enough chickens to free range, especially given the high proportion of roos.
    They will probably come in on their own. After you have made your modifcations keep them in a few days. I have 14 chickens that refuse to come in, but the older chickens all put themselves to bed.
     
  3. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2010
    We have already preditor proofed the pen, I was just concerned if they decide not to come in that they would be attacked.
     
  4. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Also the chicks would not be free range.
     
  5. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    I supervise my free ranging. This past week I've been sick with a horrid chest cold, so I have limited their free time only in the evening. My 8 chicks head straight for the woods in the backyard, it's pretty far from their run. I've only had to round them up 2 times before they got the hang of it. By letting them out in the evening, they go back in the coop on their own. They stay out for about an hour. They have their own little system going on and it's like clockwork. I supervise due to the dogs that run free in the neighborhood.

    I lock my chicks up in their coop every night behind a steel door. They are very safe in their coop. I let them out every morning too in their run.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Rep of Ireland
    I've read somewhere that "free range" means minimum 2sqm per chicken, so if you can make their run bigger it'll be cool. I'm letting my bigger chickens free range over a huge area, but I built a large chick pen for the little ones, as we had a big problem with predators.
    If you want them to run free during the day and get them home at night, do a "Hansel & Gretel" with some treats. Drop treats where they can see it and walk with them to the coop, then throw the last of it in the coop so you can close it up when they run inside.
    I found with my chickens that they sometimes take awhile to get brave and start wandering around outside the run.
     
  7. theguy67

    theguy67 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2010
    Thanks for the input. It really won't take much to close up the pen to convert into a large coop. Just needs some more nesting boxes, water buckets and perches.

    I may try free ranging them today for 30 min or so. Then I will increase the legnth until I can learn to trust them. We don't have dogs but we do have cats. Although I think one bad encounter with the big roo will teach them a lesson. Also we built large, moveable boxes for tortoises that should do nicely for the chicks.
     

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