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FREE RANGING, WHEN TO START!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Flychick4721, May 29, 2016.

  1. Flychick4721

    Flychick4721 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2016
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    I'm not sure if this is the right spot to post but I'm hoping someone can give me advice as to what age can I start free ranging my chicks. I have three chickens and the are 7 weeks old.
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    Their age is fine, but I'd be concerned about predators. A cat would happily finish them off at that age, not to mention hawks etc. If you supervise their free ranging (e.g. for an hour before dusk) then maybe that would be fine. Other members, i am sure, will have different views on the subject.

    CT
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine are about the same age and I have been trying to keep the little escape artist in their pen. The first day they got out and our dog got out too and killed a little rooster. Tonight my son went outside and a coyote was by our house. I want to let my chicks free range but we have a lot of predators. Bobcats, wild pigs, and of course all the other 4-legged beasties that live free. Yesterday my son got a garter snake out of their pen.

    When mine do manage to escape their pen, they spend their time scratching in all the blackberry bushes and undergrowth near their pen. It was really hard to catch them but now they usually will come to me if I have a bowl in my hand, lol.

    I started out at a couple of weeks of age, sprinkling feed, grass clipping and even things like cooked oatmeal for them to scratch for. I also put a stick in their little cage a few inches off the floor so they could try roosting which they caught on quick too. I moved them to their big outdoor pen a couple of weeks ago. Mine don't sleep on a roost yet but they would be safer if they did. How are your birds at scratching and roosting? Maybe you could let them out for say an hour or two before bedtime. They should be ready to go back to their coop, especially if you call them and throw a handful or two of scratch. It is really their natural instinct to search for food and it will save on your feed bill. I think they are happier, healthier chicks for free ranging.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I never start till mine are bigger than my cat!
    Also chicks are flighty. As they get older they mellow! I would wait till they are 9 weeks old. Supervised outings only!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Flychick4721

    Flychick4721 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 28, 2016
    Washington State
    Thank you all so much, I'm learning a lot from you all!
    They will remain in their coop when ever we are not home. I don't ever plan on them totally free ranging without one of us being here.
    With that said, I have been reading from prior threads and from you and think an hour before dusk each night is how I will start. Supervised of course.
    I just worry about them getting bored in their coop!!!!
    Thanks again!!! [​IMG]
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    One thing to remember is they are Chickens!
    I have raised many chickens and get a laugh out of some of the things posted!!
    They really wont die that easy.
    Yes, people treat them as pets! In the end! They are Chickens!
    I like mine too! Ask me a question from Chick care to caring for your flock!
    No bull on how to keep things going for your flock.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    I've got a broody hen that has been free ranging with 10 chicks since they hatched, 2 weeks ago. Honestly, she doesn't take them far from the coop. They hardly ever even leave the run. I've had a batch of chicks out in the grow-out coop that have been free ranging since they went out at 3 weeks old, that was about 3 weeks ago.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Not sure what your question is?
    Sounds to me things are okay!
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    The question was how soon can you start free ranging. My answer is, as early as you want to. I was sharing that you can free range young chicks, and not have them all eaten in a matter of days. It's okay to let 7 week old chicks out for some playtime.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Okay!
    Free ranging chickens takes more time and care than letting them go!
    Dogs, cats and other animals play a big part in letting them out on their own.
    Supervised visits out of the coop should be the start of free ranging.
    Try what works for you!
     
    1 person likes this.

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