how old should my girls be to free roam?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bdp7150, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. bdp7150

    bdp7150 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 17, 2008
    Kentucky
    my girls and one roo are 6 weeks old they play in the run but i wonder and kinda worried when the day comes to free roam what do you think?
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I wasn't comfortable letting my chicks free range without me being right there until they were pretty much full size. Even then, I kept a really close eye on them for weeks, well for months, well ok, it's over a year later and I still do [​IMG]. But I did let them start to free range when they were about 12 weeks old.

    You just need to decide on when YOU feel comfortable and when they will be as safe as possible.
     
  3. JHaller

    JHaller Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 23, 2008
    Austin TX
    It's about the risks.

    I have cats, the neighbors have cats, and my little chickens would scratch and flap their wings, and drive the cats nuts. Kitties with tails a-twitching, ready to pounce, kept me in constant fear.

    My girls were rarely loose in the yard, and very closely supervised, until they were bigger, probably over 14 weeks old. Now the chickens can scare away the cats, but we have a new cat in the neighborhood that I don't quite trust! They range only when I'm nearby.

    If hawks or owls are a possible threat, make sure you have places the chickens can run to. My birds have shrubs and lawn furniture to hide under, even a garbage can near a fence can provide them some safety.

    I think we have to teach ourselves to be comfortable letting them range.
     
  4. Tweeza

    Tweeza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2008
    New England
    I'm not a chicken expert yet but I figured I would let mine free range until they start laying and know exactly where I want them put. Does that make sense to all you seasoned chicken experts or am I just a little paranoid of possibly having to go search for eggs?

    Tweeza
     
  5. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    My first batch free ranged around 9 weeks & I herded them into the coop each night until they figured out to go in on their own. They have been free ranging ever since. Now their chicks begin free ranging with mom as early as day 2 or 3. Keep in mind that the chicks are easy prey for hawks and other predators b/c they are so small. My chickens are heavy breed, so they aren't quite as susceptible to predation (nor are they white/buff..so they do blend a bit better). Finally, mine have many places that provide cover including many shrubs and trees, the woods and a lot of space under the coop and deck. I have also put little shelters up around the yard so that they can dive for cover if need be.
     

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