Free ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by suburban, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. suburban

    suburban Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 13, 2010
    Perth, western Australia
    I would like to let our chooks out to free range around the yard but I'm scared they will fly away. Should I clip their wings and if so at what age should I do this?
  2. justbugged

    justbugged Head of the Night Crew for WA State

    Jan 27, 2009
    I let my girls out into the yard and I have not had one go over the 6 ft fence yet. I started by letting them out about 1 hour before bedtime. They were happy to put themselves back in the coop and went to bed by themselves. All I had to do was close the door to the run.
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Chickens aren't wild birds. [​IMG]

    Chances are, if they're completely used to your area, they'll stay within it. After a while they may try and wander off elsewhere to see what else is in the world, but if you have tall fences or the likes, they will likely stay in their area. If you do feel the need to clip wings, only clip the flight feathers.
  4. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I agree with just bugged. If they haven't been outside before I would also lock them in the coop for a week or two, so they learn where "home" is.

  5. suburban

    suburban Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 13, 2010
    Perth, western Australia
    Thank you.

    We have had them for about 2 months and they are approximately 3 months old.

    OK I think I will give it a go this afternoon and see what happens. Their run is right next to the veggie garden so chances are they will just get in there and destroy that.

    I'll let you know what happens.
  6. I think you will be surprised how close to "home" they stay at first. I would likewise recommend letting them out in the late afternoon so that they naturally stay closer to the coop to be ready to put themselves to roost. I have not cliped any of my hens wings and they have always stayed in the back yard even though the fence in some spots is less than 5 feet which they can easily fly over.
  7. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    My flock always stays close to home. The roo is very protective and herds them if the girls get too far for him.

    We started with supervised outings, but now they stay out most of the day.

    On the other hand, I had been given a roo, kept him in for two weeks. The first day I let him out he took off down our yard, hopped the fence and ran through the field- withen a minute of being out... never to be seen again. The other chickens were looking at him like 'what the heck?!?.....[​IMG]
  8. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Be warned by my experience. Free ranging your flock will become a permanent situation unless you can handle pleading chickeny tears and trembling beaks.

    My flock goes where there is food. They can easily get over my fence, but they have not tried yet. They have tried to go down into the creek, but I caught them just in time.
  9. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    I've had one that's a little flighty, mostly when the dog is out. (He's not into chasing them, but he will come up to sniff at where they're pecking and she freaks out and tries to fly away.) So I've clipped her wing. The others, don't seem interested in going elsewhere. Keep an eye out at first. And if you have anything that would possibly make them want to "escape" consider whether you'd rather they escape on foot or fly away.
  10. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    Mine free range from sunup to sundown and they never stray very far. They always put themselves to bed at night all I have to do is close the door. Just wait till it is dusk and they will go in by themselves no chasing involved.

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