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Is there a time of day that is better to free ranger the birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kjmvmm, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. kjmvmm

    kjmvmm In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2012

    My first post been stalking for a while gaining tons of knowledge. My question is regarding free ranging the birds if I don't want them to wonder to far would it be better to let them go off closer to the time that the need to go to the coops ? And how soon before sunset will they be wondering into the coop ?

    Thank you

  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    [​IMG]. I always have my birds in by 7. Dusk brings out some of the worse predators down here
  3. CSWolffe

    CSWolffe Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City
    I don't think there is a clear answer to this. It's more of a personal preference. The longer you can give them to free range, the better for them. Free ranging helps with their diet as well as mental stimulation(bored/confined chickens pull each others feathers out). But the less time they are out the closer they will stay and they will be less exposed to predators.
    I let mine out of the pen about 5 pm. That gives them a few hours to destroy my yard before sundown. I don't worry so much about predators as I do the condition of my flower beds. :/
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Mine go to coop as the daylight starts to grey. I guess that would be right at sunset time, 20 to 30 minutes before dark. Depending on how much insects and prime green forage they have will determine how far they wander. Come fall and early spring I can only give my chickens an hour of free range prior to dusk; still working on our 6ft privacy fence. In summer, if I can grow grass in spring, they have plenty of forage and are content to stay in yard and shade under our deck, they can free range from 4 to 6 hours without getting too wanderlust.
  5. rooaroo

    rooaroo In the Brooder

    Sep 20, 2011
    I let mine out in the mornings and evenings. If I do not put them in the coop and run for some time in the day I notice they lay less. Early bird gets the worm....I let mine out the other day at 6:30am and right as one hen walked out there was a worm at her feet...she was super happy! I also let them out at night because I like to let them forage before they go to bed. If it is a cold night or morning I toss some cracked corn on the ground to help warm them up. I do not think there is a rhyme or reason to when is best, depends on your environment as well. Are you in the city with a backyard and neighbors to offend or acreage with predators? I have acreage but neighbors who have dogs that venture in the afternoon....another reason for keeping them in during the day.
  6. kjmvmm

    kjmvmm In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2012

    I have an acre just like all my neighbors but I would rather they not wonder to far specially to my east she is a really good cook and he likes to live off the land :) . I do have planes on fencing in the back yard but it might take some time to complete financially. They will have a nice 25x25 run alone with a section of the yard I will deer fences in to let them roam when I am around that should be close to 100X20... I wish my Great Dane hadn't past last summer he would of been a great friend and protector and I can depend on my Yorkie well cause he is a Yorkie
  7. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    Mine are out ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL day! Except for now - I've had to create a temporary enclosure (that's still large) because I put weed killer/fertilizer on my lawn. They're not real happy, but I'm leaving them there for a couple of weeks! Boy are they complaining! Spoiled girls!

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