Keeping Chickens Free Range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LadyBroody, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop
    Cute man but also shame!!
  2. L Marshall

    L Marshall Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2013
    Our Guineas lay their eggs in the open in high weeds. I was very worried about it but they did hatch some each time and the mommies stayed on them even through hail storms. We provide lots of areas for them to lay in but they don't seem to like those.
  3. QueenBubbles

    QueenBubbles Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2014
    Davis, CA
    Well, sometimes I take pity on her and put a stool out for her. They love the garden soil for their dust baths:
  4. ChickyChickens

    ChickyChickens Chickening Around

    May 24, 2014
    BYC? Epic <3
    My Coop
    I love watching chickens dust bathe!
  5. xlentjoyce

    xlentjoyce New Egg

    May 4, 2014
    My older hens(1 year olds) went broody mid-summer for about 6 weeks. I didn't like them sitting in the coop all day and night, so i would just pick them up and put them outside in the yard, closed the coop door-else they would have gone right back in! when they started laying again did, my young hens (4 months) started laying too.
  6. farmlady1

    farmlady1 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2014
    Randolph, KS
    Our chickens are free range. We lock them inside a large covered run with a coop at night, so the coyote's don't get them. Yes, coyotes can get them during the day, but our dog keeps the coyotes and other critters at bay. We open the gate right before we leave for work in the mornings, about 6:30 a.m. Central Time and they stay out until about 8 or 9 p.m. During the winter time we find them already in the coop; probably because it starts to get dark outside much earlier.

    The chicks have free range as far as they want to go. We have never found them off our 65 acres. And, as someone said, a washer sprayer is good to have for the porches because the chicks get curious and investigate. Hence, the reason I have only wood furniture on the porch and nothing with fabric.

    Over the years some chicks have refused to go in at night and have stayed high up in the trees, as we do not clip their wings.

    We have never had a serious problem with the chicks laying eggs any place but the coop. The one time, they laid eggs in an old chicken box in the barn, but the eggs were easy to find and it was only that one time. Don't know the reason for it.

    I attended a poultry seminar and the speaker said that the definition of "free range" was one hour a day of fresh air. That could mean, opening a window in an extra large coop or on a poultry farm that keeps chickens indoors all the time.
  7. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Orrock township, Minnesota
    Some of mine live in the trees too.

    I think I have about a dozen that stay outside all night. A couple roost between the turkeys, other live in the trees somewhere..

    All I know for sure is in the morning I have about a dozen birds outside before I open the coops.

    I am not sure how I will catch those on culling day.
  8. thechicks

    thechicks New Egg

    Aug 2, 2014
    We live in Ecuador and keep some free range chicks. When our broody hen needed to be moved we did it at night and she didn't fight, bite or disapprove in anyway. They are very docile at night. If you have someone help you move the eggs at the same time she will stay on them. I don't know how far you want to move her. You could make her a temp. shelter and nest by wrapping plastic around the eves and putting saw dust or hay in the "ground" nest she has already made for herself...Good luck. We have done all these things. I have even used a plastic dog house as a temp shelter and that works.

    BCASKEY New Egg

    Apr 24, 2014
    We feed ours and what they find is treats - bugs and ticks.
  10. lovelyqueenofir

    lovelyqueenofir New Egg

    Sep 7, 2013
    I have a flock of 12 here in WA. We have eagles coons and hawks. My flock free ranges whenever one of us is home. I do this so i can hear if there is commotion or a problem. We feed 2x a day- one in the morning outside so they can get to pecking and scratching and one when we put them away at night. We had originally not fed but there just isnt enough food for these guys to stay healthy and lay....even with several acres. Its also alot easier getting them in the coop! We've had one go broody- she was in a bad spot so we transferred her and the eggs early that night. It also allowed us to candle the eggs. Even with free range my flock lays in their coop and will make their way there at night. Hope this helps :)

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