Free Ranging while at work

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JackieK318, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    I work during the day, but hate to leave my girls penned up the entire day. I do have woods with coyotes, etc. behind my house. What are you all's thought on free ranging during the day while I'm gone (7:30 a - 6 p)? Do they stay in the backyard? Do they get in the woods? Should I put some poultry fence around their "free range area" and how high should the fence be if I only clip their long wing feathers? Have you all had any issues with predators during the day?
  2. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Ah... woods, look out. We have Hawks here. If you have trees you will prob. have flying predators.

    It also seems like they {chickens} start off only going in a small area. But they will get bored and soon wander off in a broader area. I have 2.5 acres and they never leave that. But you know never say never. If you build them a fence I would put some netting over it if you can.

    I only let mine out in the evening to free range because of the hawks. If I see one hanging around they don't get out for a few days. He will also eventially get bored and move on. Also you have to think about something getting over the fence and through the netting.

    Your chickens will be VERY HAPPY if you let them free range but there is always the chance you could lose one or all of them.
  3. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Losing birds to preditors is part of free ranging. If it's not a neighbor's dog getting over/under/through the yard fence, then it's a hawk, coon, coyote, something. Having a good protective roo helps and if they have access to the woods then they have a place to hide. But then critters can come through the woods to kill them, too. If you free range, you will lose some. If you're not willing to take that chance then leave them cooped when you're gone. If I sound gruff, please forgive me. I don't mean to. I'm just stating a hard fact.
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    My rule is to free range when I can be outside and watch them...
    I've been bending that rule for a while...
    last night I was at the computer and Obelisk was out...Penny's trying to be broody, so she was in...
    I look up and there's a black bird flying down the street..."Wow, I've never seen a crow that close to a car"...
    Crap! That's not a crow! That's Obelisk!"
    We spent an hour looking for her because the neighbour's dog got in and chased her.
    Now, if they want to go out, I will be out there with them with a nice supply of rocks in hand.
  5. jenichick

    jenichick Songster

    Jun 1, 2007
    My land is surrounded by 4,000 acres of state park. We have coyotes, fox, skunk, racoons, etc etc. We have dogs that run our neighborhood and wild dogs too. If I were to let the chickens free range, I wouldn't have any within a month. I'm sure of it. Wild animals love chicken as much as most of us do. Sad but true....
  6. risurocket

    risurocket Songster

    Jul 5, 2008
    Hi, brand new here. We will be getting chickens in the fall. We live on an urban-ish vegetable farm which has had chickens in the distant past. Our landlord has talked about how they used to free-range his chickens. Now, I see problems. Neighbors. I am worried about chickens wandering off where the neighbors don't want them. We have a large (20ft x 30ft) run for them (will that be big enough for 50 chickens? Our coop is 16ft x 20 ft, also wondering if that is big enough), and plan to have chicken tractors for them to have "grass days". Any thoughts on if I should negotiate with neighbors to free-ranger or should I just keep them to their tractors and runs?
    I am so glad there's a site like this. Thanks! [​IMG]
    Oops, just realized this is possibly in the wrong thread...I am a stay at home mom, so I would be home with the chickens most of time as well.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  7. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

    Apr 1, 2007
    N. Carolina
    I've had silkie chickens free ranging for 5 years and never lost one to a predator. Here's why:


    2#...Plenty of hiding spots. Go to the nursery and ask for some Variegated Privet bushes. Plant them every 50 feet. Your chickens will love to get under them.

    3#....Get BIRD FEEDERS! The birds will alert the chickens of hawks. The Blue Jays and crows are the best "notifiers" of hawks. Any bird on my feeders will alert the chickens of incoming predators.

    4#....Get a dog and train it to protect the chickens. I have a Golden Retriever who freaks out anytime the chickens sound the "alert". She never lets a stray dog in the yard, and even runs after hawks.

    5#....If it's going to rain, don't let them out. The hawks come around when it's raining.

    Wanted to add...I'm surrounded by woods.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  8. risurocket

    risurocket Songster

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thanks! [​IMG]
    Birdhouses! What a great idea!
    All the advice mentioned is, in fact, and makes a lot of sense. I think I will copy/paste that list into a text file for future chicken hints/tip quick reference manual. [​IMG]

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