Free ranging age


13 Years
May 1, 2010
Hastings, MI
Hi All,
It has been years since I have been a chick mom. I am wondering at what age I can put my chicks in the coop and let them free range all alone.

Also I have an Ancona duck (female) and a Pekin (male). The female could care less about the chicks but the Pekin hates them. He tries to kill them. I have never let the chicks out without supervision or locking him up or both. Will it always be like this? Or will he eventually get used to them? BTW the chicks are Cochins 6 weeks old.
Once the chicks have lost nearly all of their chick down you can move them outside. For different breeds it’s at different times.
Also, we had neighbors who had to get rid of their male ducks due to the fact they were trying to kill their hens.
He lived with them for months and still would attack them :hmm

I wouldn’t be too optimistic about him warming up to them :(
First concern is environmental conditions. Are the chicks old enough to handle cold, heat, and precipitation? By two weeks they can handle temperature as low as 60 so long a dry. By a month they can handle near freezing. Maximum tolerance not realized until near adulthood. Predators can be more problematic, especially those targeting chicks. What level of protection can you provide against hawks in particular?
Once chicks have all their feathers in (5-7 weeks) then you can put them outside. They need to be in a coop or covered area until they know "This" is home, which usually takes 2 weeks to 1 month. Like centrachid said you'll need to prepare for predators especially with free ranging. Areas with shrubs, bushes, trees will cover your chickens when they are older from hawks. All other predators will then be your focus.

I free range all the time and have had no issues this year. Last year I had a fox issue so they had to be cooped and fenced. I also always have a rooster to protect my hens. Good Luck!
Thank you All. I appreciate your input. Lol I haven't forgotten about predators. I think at this point I will still only free-range with supervision. Thanks again!

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