I finally let them free range!


14 Years
May 8, 2008
Tenino, WA
I took a leap of faith this weekend and finally let my hens outside for some free ranging time in the paddock with the cows! I had to physically carry the first four out Saturday morning, and no one else ventured outside after that, but those first four stayed out several hours before putting themselves away.

Yesterday morning I went out and opened the coop and barn doors, and those four burst out of the coop like they were on fire, and were outside in a matter of minutes. Some others scratched around the hay on the barn floor for awhile, but when I looked a few hours later, eight of my eleven hens were outside!

I've been afraid to let them out this whole time, but now I'm more confident. They didn't go far at all (never left the paddock, and in fact probably stayed within 10 feet of the barn at all times), the cows didn't bother them, and when they sensed danger (I came walking in too fast) they bolted through the barn door in a fast single file line. I won't be letting them free range when I'm not home - yet (I leave for work in the dark and arrive home just before dark) - but weekends will be their free time.

Yay for happy, free ranging chickens!


11 Years
Mar 29, 2008
North Central Arkansas
Congrats on the happy chickens.

It's odd, but when mine were let out for the first time, I almost had the same feeling as the first time my teenager drove off in the car by himself. :eek:


Will Shut Up for Chocolate
11 Years
May 7, 2008
Frozen Lake, MN
Funny how we all freak out about letting our chickens range the first time or two, but after that we calm down when we see how well they handle themselves.

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Opa-wan Chickenobi
12 Years
May 11, 2008
Howell Michigan
Free ranging birds are happy birds. I wish I could allow mine to free range but with just 2 acres I'm afraid they would soon be at the neighbors.


11 Years
Sep 23, 2008
Monroe, Ga
I have a quick question if you dont mind Amy....
I live on a acre.
My neighbors right next door.
I could hit it with a rock...
Could I let them free range under adult supervision??
Like if they start wondering off to the neighbors and I go to retrieve will they run away and make me look silly chasing a chicken??


11 Years
Jun 27, 2008
Fitzwilliam, NH
I decided to let mine free range for the first time a few weeks ago. I started letting them out of the pen about 2 hours before sunset and when it started to get dark out they all put themselves to bed. I figured I had it made, until I came home from work the other day and 9 of my 10 where running around the yard. They decided 2 hours every night wasn’t enough time. Now I can’t keep them in if I try. They just get a running start, hop the fence and go on little chicken adventures. When I got home the other day they were in my neighbors yard, so I just talked to him about it and he said no problem, but if he finds any eggs he gets to keep them, fair enough. I love having them loose in the yard – they look so cool out there, I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired of watching them.


14 Years
May 8, 2008
Tenino, WA
Hi, SaraFair,

I think whether or not your chickens will visit the neighbors depends on the type of fencing you have (can they get through it?) and whether their wings are clipped (can they fly over it). My chickens don't have clipped wings, and our neighbors are farther away than yours, from the sounds of it, but I also live in the country where most of us have chickens and other livestock, so visting chickens probably wouldn't be too much of a problem. However, I have some hog wire and some barbed wire fencing my hens will have no problem getting through, so I'm sure at some point mine will go visiting (although they'll only end up in pasture if they do). My bigger concern is not letting them get into the yard with the dogs, and making sure they don't stray too far that I lose them to bold predators. That's why I feel safer only letting them out when I'm home - on the weekends so they can go in when they're tired of being out ('cuz I'm sure mine would rebel and refuse to come back in if they felt short changed in time, too!).



11 Years
Jul 31, 2008
I have about an acre as well...i found that when i let my hens out in the morning they were all over the place at the next door neighbour, under their cars and everything..so I decided to let them out at 3 in the afternoon and i found that they dont go far then..My neighbours actually thought I had got rid of the chickens because they dont even leave the back yard anymore...

my neighbour is the best she never complains if my dogs get loose, or if my chickens poop on her lawn...but i dont want to push my luck so i try to keep them confined but still allow them to free range and the 3pm timing was the best solution..


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Glad it's gone so well for you. Just wait until they get so used to free-ranging that you can hear them fussing a mile away if you're late to let them out.

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