How-to "Free range" Roos.....?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Momma_Cluck, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Momma_Cluck

    Momma_Cluck Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    N. West Michigan
    Got a REAL newbie question...

    Everyone keeps telling me that we should let the Roo's have the run of the yard to control the bugs, weeds etc..

    BUT: What is to keep them from just wandering off..or into the road, or to the neighbors?
    And what do I do to keep them from being eaten by hawks, cats, etc?????

    Thanx Folks!
  2. bangor777

    bangor777 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    i don't think they'll run off, they tend to stay close to the coop. As far as predators, that's the risk you take when you free range. you need to decide if it's worth it to you to take the risk. you can do some things, like make sure there are bushes or buildings so that the chicken can run for cover, but no matter how careful you try to be there is still a large threat from predators.

    By the way, mine free range and they and i both love it, but i have steeled myself to the possibility of losing some to predators. [​IMG]
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    If you have hens, that will be big reason number one for not running away. Reason number two, make sure to still throw them some food or treats so they know where they get there meals.

    How big is your yard?

    You can always limit the amount of time they stay out. I let my flock out just a couple hours before sundown. This keeps them near their roost/coop and easier to round up and lock up.

    As for hawks, the only way to truly avoid them is to keep your birds covered at all times. If you let your birds out of their covered run, they are at risk. Providing things to duck under will help minimize a successful hawk-attack. They will naturally watch for hawks, sometimes it even takes witnessing one hawk attack to learn to keep an eye on the sky. If you let them free-range you will have to accept you are opening your birds for an attack.

    Cats are usually not a problem. Coons and possums are normally nocturnal, so if you lock your roosters back up at night they'll be much safer. Daytime predators to watch for are mainly hawks and dogs.

    Free-range predations are cut down significantly by securing the birds at night, because the majority of chicken-predators are nocturnal.

    I free range my extra roosters. Anything I depend solely on for breeding stays locked up in their run, due to Murphy's law. With my luck a hawk would decide to eat all my valuable birds and leave the rest. I've noticed my roosters are much, much more predator wary than my hens.

  4. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    [​IMG] Where in MI are you from?

    I'm planning on free-ranging my extra roos as well. I'll make some kind of shelter for at night... and there is a HUGE row of evergreen bushes near the coop, plus many other hiding, we shall see [​IMG]

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