I'm afraid to free range!

sunket77

Songster
10 Years
May 21, 2009
955
4
141
Texas Hill Country!
I am afraid if I free rang my babies will be eaten! There is a dog next door that stays tied up or on a run and one older one that runs loose. And then of course there are the other predators like fox, coon, opossum, coyote, and hawks. I live on 4 very wooded acres. But I am afraid they will wonder to the neighbors yard or become prey other wise.
 
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Emzyyy

Runs with Deer
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
2,952
24
191
Derby Kansas
Just let them out when your outside and can watch them otherwise keep them in the run. Its fun to just sit in the grass and watch mine come and sit in my lap.
 

Rockpile99

Songster
10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
153
4
111
Longmont
I'm on three (rented) acres. No preadator or chicken proof fences here.

I keep everyone in a tractor that gets moved about once a week to new ground. It keeps them safe and helps keep my weeds down.

I do let them out to range when I get home in the evenings and on the weekends, or any other time that I'm home for decent periods of time. I think this the veggi scrap treats and masses of grass trimmings keep them very well occupied. There is always something new for them to scratch through.

Keep in mind that besides your neighbor dogs, most, definitely not all, preadators are nocturnal and will leave your babies alone during daylight hours. If you just let them out when you are home and can keep an eye on them it might work out for you too.
 

Lila_Brambleburr

In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 17, 2009
27
1
24
Teafield Rd.
Evenings is a good time to let them range if you can be there with them, because they'll head back into the coop when it gets dark anyway. No chasing them down.

We have a dog that we've trained to be ultra gentle with the chickens, and just having her around, marking the perimeter with her scent and chasing anything that moves, other than the cat and chickens, keeps most predators away. We did have raccoons steal a nest full of eggs from our banty who was nesting in the garage, but thankfully she was okay. Also, having lots of large bushes and out buildings that the chickens can hide in (or under) if birds of prey are around is handy too.
 

sunket77

Songster
10 Years
May 21, 2009
955
4
141
Texas Hill Country!
Thanks, I may build up the nerve to free range in the evening, I am just worried they my wonder over to the neighbors yard and not be able to catch them before they get to close. They are all pretty much very tame. Some much more than others since they all have their own personalities! Evening is a good idea so they will go back for bedtime. Most all of them come when I call. I wanted to get or build a tractor but there are to many trees, I rent also, and don't have permission to clear any trees, it's all Very wooded.
 

Chickenaddict

Songster
11 Years
May 19, 2008
3,691
60
223
East Bethel MN
I free range my birds during the day with lots and lots of predators around. Lots of hawks and bald eagles around here as well as stray cats, wolves, apparently bear, fox, opossums, hunting dogs, I could go on and on. In 3-4 years of owning poultry we have only lost 1 to a predator. We live in a residential area on about an acre. I leave for work and leave their coop open for them to go in and out of as they please. I keep my seramas penned up but let them free range when im able to be right there to watch them but the others have alot of help from the wild critters around here.

The other day 2 blue jays tormented the heck out of a hawk who planned on having one of my chickens for lunch. I have seen robins do the same as well as big black crows. Even the tree rats (squirrels) sound an alarm to give the flock a heads up. So far it has worked wonders for them but i know there is a chance they may not always be that lucky, its the price we pay for letting them have their freedom. Its a tough choice to make.
 

ging3rhoffman

Songster
10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
1,073
16
171
I try to go out and let my girls out each day, but i sit in a lawn chair with my ice tea, good book and a 22. If a dog goes after one of my chickens....its a dead dog. Real simple. There are leash laws and if people really really love their dogs then they wouldnt let them run free. I love my 2 shihtzus and they have a hugh fenced in back yard to play in. They have never been in our neighbors yard, nor will they ever be.

You can start by going out around 8pm and they will go back into their coop or run area at 8:50. Thats when my girls come back in.

They will love it and so will you.
 

citygirl

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 8, 2008
82
0
39
Dayton, Ohio
Free ranging is a choice people make. It's that simple. Chickens can do just fine in a large (predator proof) run. I know that my dogs, who are sissies, would bother the chickens and I'm just not willing to take a chance. We also have a fox with babies that we've seen out and plenty of racoons. I have 3 coops with attached runs that the chickens have access to 24 hours a day and they seem quite happy. Good luck whatever your choice may be.
 

ChikeeMomma

Songster
10 Years
Mar 29, 2009
1,453
5
161
Mid Michigan
I would let them out in the evening (when you are home), just as someone suggested. This can ease you into free ranging. Then you will know if it's for you or not. I do free range mine. I started out just in the evening. Then it was all day as long as I was home. Now I do let them still stay out if I need to leave for a short while. I do know the risks, but they do love it so! So good luck to you!
 

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