Hi all, new member here.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WGB, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. WGB

    WGB In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2008
    I've been stopping by for some time and thought I would register and say hi!

    I've been reading FAQ's, past posts, and most corners of BYC.

    We wanting to get into chickens. We picked up some ag property, but it's within 1/2 mile of a nice lake community, and I have a home about 1/4 mile the other direction. If we free range chickens, how far do they roam, and how do you keep them home?
  2. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Well, welcome!

    You will probably find a slew of answers here shortly on your question, but I don't free range so don't have many answers for you. Your biggest problem with free ranging is predators so make sure you are there enough to check on them would be my first advice. Chickens tend to know "home" once they are established. Some people suggest keeping them locked in the coop for a couple days and then letting them out near sundown so they don't go too far at first. Then eventually let them out earlier and earlier. Others who free range may give you different advice, but that's what I'd do. Do you plan on going to the property a couple times a day? That's about what you'll need to do.

    Anyway, have fun, it's just beginning.

  3. WGB

    WGB In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2008
    Thanks Stephanie,
    Yep, we plan on building there. So when we're home they will be out. Predators will be a problem.
  4. GAhen

    GAhen Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Carrollton GA
    My chickens are cooped at night and free range during the day when I am home.
    They stay right around the house and near by woods. I call them to come back and they come running....of coarse they know I usually have a treat. I recommend a rooster for free ranging chickens. They are so fun to watch. My dh cannot believe I have chickens, but he gets a kick out of them. He evens likes my roo, even though my roo is not fond of him.
  5. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Most chickens won't go far from the coop. What is nice is that most will put themselves to bed on their own if they have free access to the coop. Predators are a problem if you freerange. A good rooster will keep the flock organized and not scattered and will be a look out for predators. One thing is to know your predators and their habits. Birds of prey are dayhunters and a roo will usually spot them and call the alarm, make sure your flock has a place to hide, either in the coop or bushes. Racoons and such as mostly night time hunters, so are coyotes. Free range is really gives the birds something to do, excersize and food they find outisde like bugs in such. Good luck with your flock and welcome.
  6. Churkenduse

    Churkenduse Songster

    Jan 1, 2008
    I cannot free range I live directly next to a Nature Preserve and there are many predetors so I don't take any chances. I have a hawk that just sets there watching them, it freightens them.

    At night they just "come home to roost" I go out to check them and they are already inside sleeping.

    It might be a good idea just to fre range them for about 2 hours a day as long as you are home.

    Good luck you are going to love having chickens they are a real hoot!! Not to mention the great eggs you will get.

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  7. WGB

    WGB In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2008
    We have woods where the coop will be built. Lots of predators, hawks, turkey vultures don't think they go after live food, coyotes, coons, and opossum.
  8. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    We have a flock of 14 (2 roos &12 hens & young'uns) They free range every day. They range over an area of about 1 acre total. There are certain bushes they visit every morning, then a dirt pile they dust in, in the afternoon, etc. Very routine. When we've added new chickens, we left them cooped up for 1 week, and then let our 1 hr before dark for the second week, and by then they'd figured out their 'ranging area'. Yours will probably do a similar thing. Having bushes/trees around their coop is useful for them to hide under if they are free ranging and see a hawk.
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Ours free range and tend to only go about 250 ft from the coop at a maximum.
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Same here, my birds free range within site of their coop... but they think the main house is an extension of their coop... they have never made it all the way down the driveway which is about 400 feet long. One will venture down lose sight of the house, and run back. However, with both day and night predators, they may cause a problem.

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