Keeping Chickens Free Range

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

  1. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Orrock township, Minnesota

    What Corona? ( said with both hands firmly hidden behind my back) Have a Shirley temple?
     
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  2. K Epp

    K Epp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a trukey who would steal my beverage of choice and run off with it. She knew that coozy had the good stuff and any time it was out of my had she would snatch and run. I also have a goat who know how to pick the can up so he can turn it up and chug. lol Crazy boozers.
     
  3. wewantchickens

    wewantchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Lol love it!
     
  4. plm6846

    plm6846 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Predators??? Hope you do watch your hens out in the open. We free range ours only with a human babysitter..we have hawks, coyotes and Owl predators to
    Keep away..:yiipchick
     
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  5. QueenBubbles

    QueenBubbles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have flying predators during the day - good cover is best protection for that. Dense bushes or hedges are good. I have citrus trees with low hanging branches and supplement with a screen or moveable fencing under the sides that face the open yard. Your area doesn't have to be completely au natural to still be considered a free range area. [​IMG]
    Like someone else said, a rooster is a good look out for if you have really open spaces (ie, not in town). Dark and patterned birds blend in best - my light brahma is like a beacon compared to the others.
    Night predators are a whole different ball game - they should have a secure coop regardless of how much free ranging they get.
     
  6. QueenBubbles

    QueenBubbles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry - I mis-read " hope" for "how"... Must be time to go rest the eyeballs and watch my chick TV! [​IMG]
     
  7. nursesherpa

    nursesherpa New Egg

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    I'm fairly new to chickens, been just about 1 yr since we got our first. I have 12 hens that we call "free range". We have 5 acres, with several fenced sections (that they can walk thru) but they mostly hang out close to the coop. I think they like the shady spots around all the sheds. We lock them up at night, but the coop has a completely fenced area they have access to, even at night. That's where we keep food and water for them. We have fox, coyote, hawks and owls, so even the top is fenced in. I wondered about putting the food out of reach during the day, as I suspect they have plenty of goodies to forage for (we have crazy grasshoppers!!)...anyone have advice on that? I am also trying to figure out the best way to determine who is laying what. We have 3 EE but never have 3 green eggs a day. In fact, we average only 7-8 eggs/day and all (but 1)are supposed to be daily layers. I have 4 sex link, 3 EE, 2 BR, 1BO, 1 Wyandotte, 1 Sultan. Any tips for sorting this out? 2 weeks ago I slowly figured out that one of them was broody. I kept taking the eggs and shoo-ing her out of the nesting box. Once I figured it out, I ordered 12 eggs (we don't have a rooster). Later that day, she came out of the nesting box and never went back!! Aaargh! Eggs are due to arrive tomorrow and I just built an incubator. Have spent the weekend trying to get her to go broody again, with no avail....figures....wish us luck! and I'll take any 2 cents out there.....:)
     
  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Jul 11, 2014
    Orrock township, Minnesota
    I do not know your predator situation, only you do, but if it is safe to free range as is sounds it is, and you really want to move the chickens off the coop steps, I Would stop feeding them in the morning. I do not feed mine in the morning. I feed them at 5pm here. Dark is around 7:30-8. It forces them to forage.

    They will beg all day long! Every time I go outside I have chickens running at me and staring at me. Today around 1pm I had to get some tools out of the one shed. I opened the door went in to get the tools, turned around and I had 50 chickens, a half dozen or so turkeys and a flock of guineas standing by hind me! They will beg! and BEG!


    I refused them food, wasted 10 minutes running them out of the shed, and let them starve until 5:30 PM. ( I got busy).

    I feed them in the field I want them to forage in. It has tons of grasshoppers I want dead. Chickens are my pesticide. I sat my chair down in the field and had all the birds running to me to eat, even some of my CX's ran to the field today. I feed them heavy. I over feed them at night so they will go back to the feeding place when I let them out.

    My story and how I get mine to forage..

    Good luck !
     
  9. farmerjohn65

    farmerjohn65 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 50 birds I lock them in a coop at night and free range during the day I locked them in for about 2 weeks and they lay and roost in there coop I do feed them in the coop also free choice they're grit and oyster sale are also in the coop so they are always coming back to it
     
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  10. farmlady1

    farmlady1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2014
    Randolph, KS
    The video looks like my girls when we open the gate in the mornings. Except, they all run to the front porch thinking there might be some cat food left for them. Great video!
     
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