Ideal Flock

team_realtree

Songster
10 Years
Jun 28, 2009
224
0
109
i was looking for a way around 10 or so hens per roo. some people said 3 or 4 hens and a roo which is what I will do. I wasnt aware 3 hens could satisfy a roo.....
 

SunAngel

Songster
11 Years
May 20, 2008
2,639
7
193
Chambersburg, Pa.
More hens always seem to be a better choice, but my trio did just fine. The hens were missing some feathers on their backs from being the only 2 getting bred, but he never injured them. 3 or 4 hens would keep the roos affections spread out more, but it they seem to pick a favorite no matter how many you have.
 

Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
98
308
Leesville, SC
Quote:What is the true nature of the practice?

Many consider it turning loose the birds to go as they will. Thats the 'free' part, the one which seems to appeal the most.

They miss (or overlook) the 'ranging' element - which implies controlled conditions. A range for livestock/animals is not something haphazardly tossed before them. Take your average cow or horse, like I'm familiar with, for example. Their 'range' is monitored, at least, and isn't what I would call "free," by any stretch.

But what seems to happen with chickens, if posts here at BYC are any measure, is the owners either miss some crucial element of the ranges nutritional makeup, or they discover too late that free also means freely accessible.

In the former, it is imagined that the range can make up the entire diet of the bird and turning them loose to "free range" gives them all they need. We know that isn't so, in the main, and soon someone is asking if free range chickens..."are supposed to eat so much feed?...."

In the latter case, predators show up - the balance of the ecosystem is unhinged ... and posts expressing shock or dismay soon follow here at BYC. Pretty soon, were hotly debating the merits of traps or poison and the thread gets locked. Not good in either case.

Now, there are those who simply open the gates, the birds essentially on their own thereafter. There is usually a feeder in the picture, though. In the end, the smart birds evade predators (or not), they all get by and it is a way to manage chickens. For those with the space, plenty of birds to make up for losses and the right attitude about those losses, it is enough.

I wasn't getting that the OP wanted to go there, however. He or she seemed a bit more intent on results, just starting out. I would hate for that person to have found out some of this stuff the hard way. Better to get them birds under control at the outset and then go from there, you know?

Does that help?
 
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JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
937
4
131
West Central WI
Good Point.

We currently have young birds in an electronet pasture (for their protection as much as to restrain them) with feed, shelter, water. The DH keeps wondering when they will be old enough "to just turn loose". I have a suspicion he thinks they will not need to be fed or cleaned up after then. I'm not keen on this, as we have cats that will play with them to death and many wildlife predators. I also vegetable garden and we have some nice landscaping in spots that it would be a shame to have wrecked by birds that could have stayed in their pasture.

I told the DH to raise pheasants for the DNR next year...they can just be "turned loose".
 

Davaroo

Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
5,517
98
308
Leesville, SC
Quote:Just interested in hearing your definition of free range. I seen the term thrown around loosely also. You can see the various descriptions of free range and yarding here.

I've read the 'yarding' entry about a gazillion times - and I'm still looking for a copy of Mr. Syke's book! Free range is as much a marketing gimmick as anything else these days.

Of course, definitions are like noses - everybody has one.
Thanks for posting those.
 
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