Free Ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DillardHome, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

    Sep 2, 2009
    Claxton, GA
    In the past few weeks I have allowed my chickens to free range on our 9 acre property during the day. I was always nervous before to let them out unsupervised fearing predators would get my pets. I see how they really enjoy it plus it gives them space to roam and not be cooped up all day. And I have noticed an increase in my egg production, before letting them out they had all stopped. So now their happy and I'm happy. When it gets dark they all voluntarily go into the coop and all I have to do is close the door. But first thing in the morning they are all waiting at the door to go out. That said... do any of you let your chickens free range day and night?
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009

  2. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Not a chance here. Day only.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  3. Keara

    Keara Songster

    Sep 24, 2009
    Yes but do not be sad if you lose some now and then. I always hatch a few more than I need assuming I will lose some. (or maybe all) Most of the predation I see is at night so as long as mine are closed in when it's dark my losses are minimal. This year I have only lost one out of 25. But in years past I have lost as many as 10 to daytime predation.
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Songster

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Chickens will not range at night. They will always coop up somewhere be it coop, tree or another building or a bush. They only range at durning the day. Alot of time I am not home at night to close door on my coop and it gets left open all night. I can do this because we have no ground predators around here. They were all huinted out before we moved here. We get the hawks and they leave the chickens alone unless it is a young hawk that does not know better.

  5. KKatknap

    KKatknap Songster

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    Oh, how I would love to. My DH keeps telling me they would be fine, but..... I just ask him if it would really be worth living with a crying, inconsolably guilty and self-incriminating wife if they weren't. So far, they remain enclosed. [​IMG]

    We have almost 60 acres of pasture, woods and wetlands. My chickens would have a blast, I'm sure...right up until a coyote, raccoon, bobcat, hawk, owl (yes, I've seen them during the day) or even neighbor dog snagged 'em.'s the age-old dilemma for me. Boring life of safety (which is, really, the only life my girls know), or fun-filled exciting life that could end abruptly at any moment. I do have a large fenced area that includes my garden that they get to visit while I'm home, so they aren't too deprived, but it would be nice to have a chicken haven that they could roam in...

    I hope it continues to work for you. Do you have a rooster for some protection? I've also heard that guineas "alarm" when there's danger. I keep pondering these things.
  6. herefordlovinglady

    herefordlovinglady It Is What It Is

    Jun 23, 2009
    My chick only know free range. I am getting my first coop this Christmas, can't wait to see what happens. I have three game hens, one xbred and my roo. the roo roosts on something we built and the hens all head for the trees at night -- way up high. Unfortunately, I have lost many to predators. That is why DH is building me a coop.
  7. CountryMom

    CountryMom Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    South Texas
    We regularly let our chickens out to free range. I live on nearly 70 acres and they usually stick up close to the house and coop. I say they would roam about 3 acres total. They could go further very easily since all the fences are open enough for them to slip through where ever. I have never lost one to a hawk or coon or otherwise during the day. However, have had coons and skunks break in at night and kill them in the coop. Done a ton of repairs and patches on holes over the last couple of years we have owned chickens. Oh and the occasional snake that slips in before I close up the coop at night. Our barn cats and dogs leave them alone. My big lab thinks they are hers to watch after just like the barn kitties. My house dog, a dachshund, is deathly afraid of the chickens.

    I have had chickens stay out over night without problems also. I have three roosters that do not get along with my others and they live out 24/7. One has a wonderful habit of crowing under my bedroom window very early in the morning. [​IMG] He maybe stew very soon! We have one chicken that just showed up in our pasture one day. The closest neighbor that has chickens is 4 miles up the road and he didn't have that breed when I asked about her. Anyhow, once in a while she will get left out simply because she refused to stop roaming before the door is shut. So far she is OK. Figure if she survived however long a trip it was from where ever she came from before we got her, then she must be OK.

    I do notice that they are much happier on the days they get let out. We usually have about 2 days a week I leave them in because of us being gone until late. Egg production is always better when they get out. Of course, I have to hunt down a nest in the tack room also.

  8. There have been a couple of times in which they were left out by accident or after I started leaving them put up one would get out. They always hang out right at the door to the coop, they want to be home at night.
  9. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

    Sep 2, 2009
    Claxton, GA
    I do have four roosters (trying to rehome 2 of them) to my five hens. In addition are two younger fellows that I'm not sure yet what gender they are. So will the roosters go up against a predator while the others try to escape?? And I have been fortunate for now that when the hens lay they will run into the coop sit for a bit and run back out (even in the rain) it's quite funny to watch them running like that. It kinda reminds me of a potty break! [​IMG] I (as you all) would hate for something to happen to my chickens but on the other hand I feel guilty keeping them caged up all day. We have two dogs which are more interested in eating a chicken poop pie than the birds themselves [​IMG] <yuck>. I've noticed the chickens like to hunker down under the shed throughout the day and come out to wonder in between. But they do stay close to the house and their coop. So I know I would sleep better knowing that they are a little safer in their coop at night, unless of course something digs itself in. Thanks to you all for your input. I honestly learn more from this site than anywhere else. [​IMG]

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