Keeping Chickens Free Range

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

  1. 1tatonkajim

    1tatonkajim New Egg

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    Nov 6, 2013
    I would love to have my girls on free range all the time, However I have way to many predators (fox, Coon, skunks and snakes) So the get out when I am there to watch for preds..
     
  2. lovelyqueenofir

    lovelyqueenofir New Egg

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    Sep 7, 2013
    It is a risk you take when free ranging. Ive definately had pullets taken with just a pile of feathers to show for it. I've had a coopers hawk try and take a chicken (didnt succeed....it was the same size as my hen anyways). Ive also had a coon rip the head off one of my fowl leaving the body still in the coop. I try to stick with heritage breeds... they tend to hide and are a little more wary....

    Personally i think health wise theyre better out ranging. Theyre not crowded and their hierachy seems less stressed. I also havent had issues with disease. The coop doesnt get as disgusting either. Because of it I risk my chickens yes,but there is always a trade off with these things :)
     
  3. drinnenm

    drinnenm Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 12, 2012
    I want to free range my chickens and I did have them free ranging for a while until one of my Dominique's was almost carried away by a HAWK. She survived but they have not been out of the run area since. How can I keep Hawks away, they nest in the woods beside my house.
     
  4. Debby27

    Debby27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alburtis, PA
    I like many others, free range them AFTER I have at least 3 eggs in the nest boxes....that's usually around 10-11 am. I have one girl that will go back to the coop and get in the nest box, which makes me very happy [​IMG] I let them out one day, or better yet they all flew out of the enclosure, and bless her heart, she was running around the coop trying to get to the nesting boxes (I forgot to open the pen) and when I found her she was right beside the coop where the boxes are getting ready to settle down in the grass to lay her egg, I picked her up, opened the back of the coop and set her down, she nestled right down and proceeded to do her thing...LOL...We have alot of hawks as well, but also a lot of tree cover, plus they have access to their run, under the deck, in the shed. We've heard the hawks a couple of times and when we do, we look around and the ladies are under the big spruce tree, lol.....
     
  5. kit carson

    kit carson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
     
  6. robbiebobbie

    robbiebobbie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2014
    Yes, LadyBroody is correct. I kept my chickens penned up until they were 11-12 weeks old, but they were able to go out into their outside fenced in yard from their coop. I kept the food and water inside the coop. After a looong while they would come out into their chicken yard and go back in very easily. Once I saw that they were going in and out on their own. I opened the door to their chicken yard. Do not force them out. When they are comfortable, they will go out on their own. Their food and water are in their coop so they will very likely come back in on their own at just before dusk. Always keep their food and water in the coop. This is how we did three groups of birds at three different ages. We had no problems. This is how we did it and it worked for us. Hope this helps others as well.
     
  7. kit carson

    kit carson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2014
    My broody had a nest in some tall grass. When I found it, it was about to rain really hard. I cut a door in one of those large plastic bins with a top and put some bedding in it. My husband picked her up and tucked her inside his raincoat while I quickly put all the eggs (18!) in the bin. I placed the bin in a small, quiet outbuilding with the opening facing a blank wall, about 4 inches away. We quietly settled her in on the eggs. In the morning I lifted the lid, and she was still sitting, in that trance-like state, so I moved the box further from the wall and placed food and water in front of it. About 5 days later, they started to hatch. Fifteen babies, and all still thriving free ranging with their mom a month later. I don't know if this would work with every hen, but it worked really well for me. I think the key is to do it at night. I once slipped a chick that hatched a day after all the others under the wing of a different hen at night, and she never noticed in the morning.
     
  8. Debby27

    Debby27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2014
    Alburtis, PA
    Oh, I also forgot to mention that one day I had a half hot dog and decided to see if they would like it.....OH MY! LOL...did they ever, I've never seen chickens go so crazy!!! [​IMG]All I have to do now is walk up to pen and they come running like banshees, thinking I have a hot dog......and I will give them a half one as a treat occasionally......hehehe
     
  9. SmColorInDaPan

    SmColorInDaPan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2012
    Drinnenm,
    Recently, on this thread, I've seen suggestions of LARGE OWL Statues or stringing old CDs on a line as deterants (sorry about spelling, i'm tired) for hawks.
    Scan thru, with as many folks on this site/thread, there should be 100s of ideas. Of the 2-7 I have had over the last 3yrs, I have NOT lost any to anyone but my own Doofus dog. (He knows better NOW) [​IMG]

    Saw something really cute today: Was feeding chickens bits of bread off the back porch. Roo let one of the girls take a bread out of his mouth. I don't think i need to worry about protection for my girls… He has a fondness.
    Was in bldg pad, 60 ft from cabin, off loading firewood. They 'suddenly' needed to paw thru the 'needs to be cut to burn size' wood pile. LOTS of bugs to be found, yes, but still kinda warms the heart.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  10. SmColorInDaPan

    SmColorInDaPan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2012
    Saw something really cute today: Was feeding chickens bits of bread off the back porch. Roo let one of the girls take a bread out of his mouth. I don't think i need to worry about protection for my girls… He has a fondness.
    Was in bldg pad, 60 ft from cabin, off loading firewood. They 'suddenly' needed to paw thru the 'needs to be cut to burn size' wood pile. LOTS of bugs to be found, yes, but still kinda warms the heart.
     

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