How often do you let your chickens out of the run?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sammimom, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. toletiquesbysam

    toletiquesbysam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2008
    Nebraska
    When I get home from work in the evenings I let them out, so about 5:30pm and I put them back in about 8-9pm depending on the weather and how tired I'm getting!
     
  2. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    i let mine out for a few hours a couple times a week. They have learned pretty much to stay on my side of the road and I just check on them occasionally, i have lots of trees and shrubs so I dont worry about hawks. I also havent seen any critters here that I would have to worry about. Racoons are nocturnal but if you absolutely would bd devastated at the loss dont risk it. If my chickens arent able to get out for a few days I will toss in some grass clippings for them to dig thru and give them something to do.
     
  3. GrannySue

    GrannySue Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have about 1/3 acre and my birds free-range all day. It's fenced but pullets can get through it until they're full grown.
    I also have runner ducks, same with them. They go into the lot next door, wild shrubs, trees, blackberries.
    I lost a drake to a hawk in the next door lot one day. [​IMG]
    Also had 2 Brahma pullets disappear, again to a hawk. I had thought hawks were like eagles and needed a big space to land, pick up the prey, then take off. Learned the hard way.
     
  4. Sammimom

    Sammimom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Sammamish,WA
    Wow, thanks everyone...I may go ahead an build a simple tractor-like structure to let them into for fresh scratching areas when we're not out with them.

    We do have two dogs, and the big one (who kills rabbits and squirrels when she can) is actually afraid of the hens, so we can leave them out with the birds. Unfortunately, my dogs bark like crazy if I am inside and they are out, which defeats the advantage of trying to leave dogs out with the birds for defense. [​IMG]
     
  5. Theyrulethefarm!

    Theyrulethefarm! New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2009
    My first posting! The 12 ladies I've been entrusted with have the entire run of a 4-acre farm- not really a working farm, except for the giant garden. They're let out of their fortified (old milk house) coop around 8:30-9am every morning and run completely free all over until they return/retire to the coop on their own about 20 mins before it gets completely dark. They are 19 weeks old and we're expecting our first eggs next week. Can't wait! Not wanting to hunt for eggs all over the place- in or below the old barn, under a non-working car, or the wooded perimeter of the property, I think we'll actually unroll the chicken wire we've had for months and possibly confine them a little. I've never had chickens before and didn't really plan on them having all this freedom, but it's worked out just fine. Also on the farm are four cats, three kittens, and one large dog. It's so fasinating to me to watch the animals relate and interact. When they were younger, we set the standard with all the other animals to leave them alone. Now they're as big as the cats and neither are phased by the others. They mingle right beside the cats and dog, and sometimes run after the cats to scare them/play with them. The ladies (chickens) are completely and crazy tamed. Had them since they were an hour old and have ridiculously loved on them ever since. They race toward me every time I step out of the house and follow me wherever I go. One in particular especially loves to sneak up on me and jump on my shoulder from behind. I've always had the concern of predators getting them, but the dog runs at any strange thing or person that comes on the land. I know this is waaay long. I'll make other posts shorter.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Florida
    My Coop
    First I would like to [​IMG] Theyrulethefarm!

    I used to free range my birds. Originally I fenced the birds in because they were digging up my gardens and newly planted plants. Either I had to fence in the gardens or the chickens. The chickens lost. I have their run and yard closed in with chicken wire. I also have an electric fence outside of the birdÂ’s yard. Nothing is going to dig under or go over. I have seen raccoons in the yard at night but they haven't gotten to the chickens. I did have a neighborhood mutt once dig under the fence before I put the electric up and kill one of my hens. Sitting out side a couple of different nights I heard an animal scream most likely from the wire when it touched it. I have accidently touched it and got quite a shock. An animal who weighs considerably less than I do will get quite a wallop. I guarantee what ever critters touched the wire won't be back.
     
  7. niallliam

    niallliam Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2009
    Athlone - Ireland
    I let them out for a minimum of one hour per day. I have three laying pullets that are normally housed in sand, with a caged run. Though apparently big enough, i do like to let them out on the lawn for a minimum of an hour as they enojy it som much and are also hugely entertaining for the kids. Have to watch them though as they eat my bushes but are becoming better behaved all the time.
     
  8. Warthog

    Warthog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 7, 2009
    Belize
    I let mine out everyday, and now even when we go out they are free ranging.

    We have two large dogs and three cats, who don't bother the chickens.

    For the first two months I kept them in their run, which is spacious, and whilst they were still small I took my dogs in on their leads and made them sit and just watch the chickens, I did this several times, and I think is paid off, because now the chickens will sit in the shade next to the dogs and even jump on the dogs back pecking off the insects. andf there is no problem.

    The cats would jump into their run when the chickens were small, and this was a concern, but I would just wait and watch what happend, and nothing did, I think the cats came to realise (because they would see me with the chicks) that they were all part of the family. They do stalk occasionally but never even try to catch one. One of my cats thinks he is a chicken-cat and will herd the chickens.[​IMG]

    We have preadtors here, but the dogs tend to keep them away.

    So yes I feel very confident in leaving my chicks to roam all day, they usually go to roost about 5.30 with a little encouragement, because I am sure they would stay out all night if they could.

    Anyhow that has been my experience hope it helps.
     
  9. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Never... they wouldn't be safe free ranging here, which is why they have a 40' x 16' run!
     
  10. augustmomx2

    augustmomx2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 31, 2008
    Central Indiana
    I allow mine out of their run/coop around 5ish and then allow them to head to their coop on their own. We have a dog that I have to put up and just allow them to run the fenced in backyard. They look forward to it everyday, as I find them near the door just waiting to get out, whenever I get home from work [​IMG]
     

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