free ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gapeachy, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. gapeachy

    gapeachy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 21, 2008
    Rome Ga
    I have been letting all my chickens free range for awhile and it seems to me they do better free ranging.....if they are in the coop which I have a large one with a door that goes to another pen......but still it seems if they are cooped up for days they get to looking lethargic.....do you think it is better to free range?
     
  2. namreknat

    namreknat Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2008
    N.W. Oklahoma
    I sure feel that if chickens are allowed to freerange even a few hours a day, they would be healthier and happier birds. The question is if your situation allows you to do that. Looks to me like it is only natural for them to scratch around and look for bugs and such. Sure helps the quality of their eggs too. Just my opinion.[​IMG]
     
  3. ginbart

    ginbart Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    I love to let mine free range but they keep going across the road. They seem to like the Neighbors driveway better then all the land they could be on. I can only let them out now for a couple of hours before dark. I know I save food when I let them out and they do seem happier.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Way better to free range! [​IMG] Healthier chickens come from adequate exercise, sunshine, varied forage and dusting in fresh soil. Good to have a safe guard for predators, if you can. I have two LGD who keep a careful eye on the flock, as we have a lot of predators around here.

    Oh, and you have no feather picking, fighting all the time, or increased fecal deposits in your coop!
     
  5. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    Mine are all over the yard and even in the soybean field after harvest. Sure cuts down on the feed bill and coop cleaning. The bright yellow egg yolks are cool too, but they turned my cream cheese frosting yellow.

    They are even out in the cold today, scratching where we moved snow (and practically regraded the yard) and enjoying the bright sunshine.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I know mine are happier free ranging. On the rare occasion when I can't let them out there's more fussing amongst them and they don't look as bright and chipper.
    Yesterday we had heavy rainstorms and wind. Didn't seem to bother them a bit. They'd duck under the carport to dry off for awhile, but would go right back out in it.
     
  7. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    My chickens have been successfully free ranging for a year and a half but our 10 acre property has natural hillside borders or woods on all sides which conveniently keeps them at home on the 2+ acre patch surrounding our home.

    I think the ability to free range depends solely on your topography or your willingness to build a few perimeter fences where dangers (such as a road) or neighbors come into play.

    It's different for everyone. Also, please take into account your predators (whether they be raccoons, possums and especially the neighbors wandering dogs!). Constant vigilance is necessary for free ranging birds.

    It doesn't guarantee that you'll not have losses but it will severely reduce the chances. If there are wandering dogs, then you may have ethical issues. Personally, I wouldn't think that I'd shoot a neighbors dog over a chicken which doesn't cost much to replace but I understand why others would, especially when the dogs are repeat offenders and the neighbors are unwilling to take responsibility.

    I think neighborhood dogs are the #1 variable to consider for free ranging chickens.

    That said, I have a game cam mounted with constant surveillance on the coop area and whenever predators show up, I take care of them lickety split.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  8. KrisRose

    KrisRose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2007
    Davison, MI.
    Chickens love to free range and are happier and healthier when they do.
    However, free ranging dosn't work for everybody. I had to fence in a portion of my backyard because of jerk neighbor and his dog.
    Bluey sumed it up pretty well, look at your circumstances and come to a desicion based on what would work for you.
     
  9. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    Our place is only three acres and the only fenced portion is the backyard where we keep the dog. Our chickens, ducks and geese are let out each morning and penned up at night. They could go much farther afield if they wanted to, but they stay right around the house.

    I once read that "A full stomach is the best fence."

    I think the gander keeps dogs and stray cats away. I have only ever seen one dog come close enough that I felt worried. It was having a casual drink out of one of the duck pools, and when I came out it was running off. Scared of me? Maybe. I rather think it was the goose.

    So, we either have really good luck or perhaps its just that God takes care of fools and the chickens they own. [​IMG]

    I do know that our chickens are some of the happiest, most content critters I have ever seen. They don't fight with each other, or new anaimals that we have added to the group.

    Deb
     

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