free ranging questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mener6896, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. mener6896

    mener6896 Songster

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Noblesville, IN
    I currently have a 10x40 run for 34 chickens. Occasionally, I like to let them out of the run for only about 1/2 hr at a time due to our predators. We have lots of coyotes/hawk etc. I usually only do this if I am working in the garden, or am close by.

    couple questions:

    1) is this even worth it? I thought they would like the change of scenery/ more bugs etc. but is 1/2 hr enough time?

    2) can I still consider them free range when I eventually sell their eggs?
    they aren't laying yet, but I'm sure they are close.

    I also like giving them treats/scraps/etc. so they do get a variety in their diet.
     
  2. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Songster

    The term "free range" is not the same as "organic". With free range they still have the choice of feed grains and other poulty feed.
    Scraps are great supplemental feed. The one thing you want not to feed is medicated feed or hormone supplements are have them where they might ingest pesticides or herbicides.
    One guy called them "Bug Eatin' Chicken Eggs".

    This my opinion...not gospel. [​IMG]
     
  3. farrier!

    farrier! Songster

    Feb 28, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    When I let mine out they are active for 1/2 hour to an hour then things settle down and you can find chickens everywhere resting.
    Some have decided on their "favorite" hunting grounds and make a bee line for where they want to go. It is funny every morning when I let them out.
    So 1/2 hour is enough time to get a croup full of goodies if the picking is good.... [​IMG]
     
  4. journey's end

    journey's end Songster

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    Jul 17, 2009
    Prince Edward Island
    Can you fence off an area? Allow them access but keep wildlife out? That's what I've done. I live near a forest and have a chicken killer neighbor dog. The fence keeps the foxes, coons and skunks out, as well as the dog.
     
  5. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    2) can I still consider them free range when I eventually sell their eggs?

    When selling eggs I don't think half an hour a day could be called free range. That is just my opinion.​
     
  6. Little Chicky

    Little Chicky In the Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2009
    I think to be considered free-range, chickens have the opportunity to go outside the coop whenever they want the whole day. You can call them locally raised, and organic if they're fed organic feed, but I don't think free range.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I have a fenced in yard for my birds with electric wire around the outside of my coop, run and yard. I had a neighborhood mutt dig under my fence before I installed the electric one and kill one of my hens. The dog came back but didn't succeed. Also I have had possums and some other critters try to get at my birds until they touch the electric wire at 6000-8000 volts. It doesn't kill them but I guarantee they won't be back. When I build my new coop they will have a much bigger yard and I already have the electric wire for it and a very large power supply.

    [​IMG]
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  8. mener6896

    mener6896 Songster

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Noblesville, IN
    my girls do go outside whenever they want, but it's only in the 10'x40' run. When I was talking free range, I meant outside of the run. Yes there are bugs and scraps in the run, but they pretty much clean it out of the grasses/bugs...

    I don't intend to call them organic eggs, although I don't give them any medicated feed.
     
  9. farrier! :

    When I let mine out they are active for 1/2 hour to an hour then things settle down and you can find chickens everywhere resting.
    Some have decided on their "favorite" hunting grounds and make a bee line for where they want to go. It is funny every morning when I let them out.
    So 1/2 hour is enough time to get a croup full of goodies if the picking is good.... [​IMG]

    I agree, when the barn door opens a group goes here and a group goes there.

    They run for thier favorite spots and about an hours latter they are under the bushes resting.

    Grasshoper season is now comming and they are ALL just losing their little minds chasing them in the afternoon.

    The ladies are out from early morning until dusk, but if I have to I let them out REAL early for worms and such. They are near impossible to gather up though to go back to the barn.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2009
  10. football

    football In the Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2009
    northern colorado
    worked for me,
    I raised a friendly goose who protects my chickens from hawks, dogs, coyotes, cats... She believes she is "mother goose." After seeing how well she protects the flock, I am comfortable letting them out for several hours each day, but never after dark.
     

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