"free ranging" around the yard?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jahphotogal, May 31, 2012.

  1. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chirping

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    My chickies are about six weeks old, and as of yesterday, now live full time in the tractor/run I"ve made for them. The bottom is wired, so they can't scratch and dirt-bath etc so I let them out to walk around the yard when I'm home watching them. (They LOVE it, of course.)

    We live in town, on Main Street, so I'm not worried about most predators during the day - dogs are usually leashed, I keep my cats inside, and anything bigger than that isn't going to show up in my back yard until after dark. I did see a couple of crows gathering in a tree the other day and figured they'd take a little chick pretty easily, but I haven't seen them since.

    So my 10 year old daughter wants to know if it's OK to let them out by themselves "unsupervised" at this age. They're about the size of a robin or maybe pigeon - not close to full size yet. They come running to me at bedtime - they're still used to me putting them to bed and haven't learned how to go up into their coop by themselves. (Working on that!)
     
  2. As long as you don't have a predator drop by, it shouldn't be a problem. Sometimes even the adults will find something to get into when they shouldn't, so I wouldn't be totally unconcerned. They will eventually return to the coop at night on their own, but for now, they're just babies. Without a mama showing them the ropes, it will take a while. Have fun........Pop
     
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Six weeks old is pigeon size which makes a perfect hawk size meal. Even the biggest cities have raptors.

    If it were me I would not leave them unsupervised.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  4. robynz

    robynz In the Brooder

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    I left my girls out today, unsupervised - they have the covered run/coop (without the metal cloth up, yet), but I left them to free range. Hopefully all goes well! One of the main reasons I wanted chickens was for tick eating, so they need to be free to eat away!
     
  5. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chirping

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    Robynz, how old are yours?
     
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    My broodies all free range their bitties. Thankfully we have a wooded area they can hide from flying predators. The roo will warn them right now, but we have a Livestock Guardian Dog in training. Right now she can not be trusted (tries to play with them - and she is a BIG puppy).
     
  7. ChickiesInUtah

    ChickiesInUtah Chirping

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    I don't plan on letting ours out of their run until they can fight back if the cat pesters them. Right now they're the size of an interesting looking meal. [​IMG]
     
  8. jahphotogal

    jahphotogal Chirping

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    Utah - LOL. My cat adores hanging out near the chicks! She has chased them through the bushes at least once - I figure in another month they'll be big enough that she can't or won't want to try to get them.
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Just wait.. Soon your chickens will be tormenting your cats. My cats love the chickens. Even the day olds. They don't bother them a bit. I have very good cats.. My big boy Dexter (16 pounds - half Maine Coon) even tests out the brooder before we add chicks! [​IMG] :gig [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  10. ChickiesInUtah

    ChickiesInUtah Chirping

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    Awwww, I love Main Coons! He's beautiful. [​IMG]

    Here's my Bubs:

    [​IMG]
     

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