How many hours do you free range your chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ReillyJ, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. ReillyJ

    ReillyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started letting mine out of the coop/run about 3 weeks ago, and i let them out i think after they're done laying for the day which seems around 1:30 ish and they stay out until they go back in voluntarily to roost which is anywhere from 7 to 8 pm. so that's a long time.

    Oddly enough when i started doing this (AND switched from Layer pellets to organic Layer Feed) their egg production has gone down, i am pretty sure they're not laying outside. You think with all that exercise, sunshine, free ranging eating and organic food i'd be loaded with eggs--it seems to kind of vary thoughout the week.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, I don't know about your organic pellets.

    However, chickens don't just lay in the morning, it takes about 25 hours to lay an egg, so each day they lay a little later, then skip a day and start over in the morning. When I get a sharp decline in egg production, I go out with my coffee cup and start listening for a hidden nest.

    I free range a lot, but I really try to vary it, so that there is not a real routine, somedays all day, somedays part of a day, somedays no time out. I think this keeps my predators off a scheduled buffet.

    Mrs K
     
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  3. ReillyJ

    ReillyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm, well i had them in the coop/run for at least 5 weeks and it was pretty much no eggs after 2:00 and of course i know that i won't get 4 eggs daily just because i have 4 hens.

    Maybe i should vary it, i usually don't let them out before noon, sometimes i go out at noon and there will be 3 or even 4 eggs, so i let them out. I know i won't let them out before noon so maybe i should wait till 3:00, i just feel so bad for them, crying in that run, LOL :p

    OH, also... when they lay outside (on the range so to speak) will they have a set place or just anywhere?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  4. MickeysChicks

    MickeysChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're on about the same schedule here! We haven't switched feed yet, probably sometime this week(can't afford to waste it so the girls get to finish this bag, then I'll buy the grownup layer feed!) Egg production seems to be increasing, just can't figure out which bird(s)! We have 7 white leghorns and 7 RSL's. Started with 1 white egg,1 brown egg about two weeks ago. We're up to 4 eggs a day but the color combos are not the same everyday, one day 3 brown,1white then the next 3 white 1 brown, a couple of 2 and 2 days.....so I'm guessing I have 3 leghorns and 3 RSL's laying, just not the same day. I've noticed that once we started letting them out in the afternoons, the girls have plumped up a little! Must be all those worms!

    Good Luck with your flock!
     
  5. ReillyJ

    ReillyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep mine seem nice and plump, would hate to curtail their schedule and i don't THINK they're laying outside but... i cannot be missing eggs, it's why i have them :)

    BTW i know next to nothing about chickens, these hens i think are youngish but they were a neighbors that got busted for a drug house and we acquired them a few months ago!
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Unless these are first year hens they may simply be getting ready to molt. Egg production often drops this time of year, or even stops, when they are nearing molt.

    As far as free ranging, my chickens are let out of their coop/run at 7:00 a.m., they spend as much time as they wish in their 3/4 acre pasture and put themselves away at dusk. They return to the coop whenever the need strikes to lay an egg.
     
  7. ReillyJ

    ReillyJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh i wish i knew how old they were, i think they may be past first year but have NO idea. I know they are very good layers except for when i changed feed and then 3 weeks later let them out to free range, i would be too concerned that they would not go back to the nest to lay if i let them out early (i have 3/4 acre also) so i think i'll just try a bit later in the day to see what happens, they'll just have to get used to it, but yes i'll keep an eye out for molt.
     
  8. pfields

    pfields Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our Ador1 pop door opens around 6:30 am and out they come. My husband and I sit outside and have our morning coffee until around 7-7:30 watching them and filling the feeder. They stay out all day and start to come in around 8:00 pm. Some go into the coop earlier so they can get on the top row of the roost. During the day the hens come in and out of the coop to lay their eggs in the nest boxes. When not laying they stay under the pecan tree in the backyard where I also have a mister set up for them. We're having a heat wave here in south Texas.
     
  9. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We free range from the time let them out before work (7:30am) to post-kids-bath-story-bed time (9pm). They're in the coop about 8 though and snuggled in, I just do a head-count and shut the pop door.

    My girls just started laying, but they've been free ranging our 1 acre (and occasionaly more of the neighborhood!) since they were about 12 weeks. (In the coop at 10, lock-down until 11, small run until 12).

    So far when they feel the need to lay they run back to the coop and do it in their box. Then saunter back outside to join the rest of the flock. Now, we're still new to this, and I know it's possible that they'll decide to lay elsewhere, but so far so good!

    We have found a couple of eggs in the bottom of the coop under the roost bar, but I think those were always the "first egg whoops!" ones :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  10. Meeka3

    Meeka3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    We let ours free range all day as well, if I'm 10 minutes late letting them out in the morning, they squawk until I do open the door. If I ever thought of not letting them out, they would drive me crazy with the noise.
     

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