New--Can you let chickens roam free...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by muggyruggy, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. muggyruggy

    muggyruggy Hatching

    Jul 21, 2010
    If I let my 3 chickens out in the morning to roam freely....will they come back to roost in their shed at night? Or will they just choose trees to roost in?
  2. orionburn

    orionburn Songster

    Jul 24, 2008
    South Bend, IN
    It depends. We've had some really dumb chickens. [​IMG] We had a crazy old Polish hen that would go in the coop one night only to be sitting on top of one of the cages the next night soaking wet because it was raining.

    I'd be more concerned with an animal attacking them if they go that long unsupervised.

    And [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  3. They should come home. Provided that you've kept them in the shed for several days, they'll see it as home and return to roost.

    There are a few breeds that don't seem to get it. I've had some crazy Polish, too! If needed, you can chase/carry them back the first few nights, and they should get the idea. DON'T let them roost in trees at night. That's how birds become snacks for predators.
  4. Kat'sChicks

    Kat'sChicks Chirping

    Jun 20, 2009
    Minonk, IL
    You don't say how old or what breed(s) your birds are, which could make a difference. If they're young and you just got them, I'd give them several days to a week in their new surroundings, coop and run to get used to where "home" is before turning them loose. If they've been kept in the coop for a while already you can turn them out, but I'd do it when I could be home to check on them, just because I worry, and you never know what could happen until they get familiar with things (and it's fun to watch them explore for the first time). You may need to find them and lead them in a night or two, so make sure you start the process BEFORE it's dark...makes a chicken hunt much easier! I would never let my chickens roost outside anywhere at TurkeyMountainChickens said, you'd just be advertising a free midnight snack for some critter. Mine usually start gathering for bed just after the sun sets but it's still light. My silkies head for bed about half an hour before that...such good little fuzzy butts! If things go smoothly all you'll need to do is take a head count before you close them up for the night.
    If you've had your chickens for a little while and they're accustomed to their coop there's a good chance they'll go in when it's bedtime, but I always count them and find any stragglers before I lock up. [​IMG]
    Good luck!
  5. haTHOR

    haTHOR Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Near Asheville, NC
    most folks here would tell you that free ranging will inevitably lead to being predated by something at some point, now or later. in which case they will definitely NOT make it home to roost.

    what's your set up with them roaming around? is there anything you can count on that will keep them from being eaten?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  6. muggyruggy

    muggyruggy Hatching

    Jul 21, 2010
    I dont have any chickens yet. I want to get about three to keep cause I live in a subdivision. Im researching stuff before I get them. Thanks for all the help, I need it!
  7. You might want to check with your neighbors too. Will they mind? Do they have dogs outside? (Never mind the "My dog wouldn't do that kind of thing." they all do.)
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    In a subdivision you can almost bet that sooner or later they will fall victim to a neighborhood dog. Build a sturdy coop and run, buy your chickens, and free range them when you are present.
  9. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Quote:I agree 110 percent! Even the smallest dog can take out your hens. (oh and if you live in a subdivision you had better make sure they are roosters!) If you have a back yard that is fenced in to where dogs can't get to them you should be fine as long as you are at home to keep an eye on them.

    I would also look very close at what breed you choose. This site has a fantastic section that covers about any breed that you can imagine and tells you if they do well in confinement or not. There are some birds, especially Buttercups, Hamburgs, Lakenvelders etc. that LOVE to roam and will may fly over the fence, no matter how big your yard is. I have 6 acres and they are free to go where they please as long as I am out with them but of guessed it....that is not enough for my Lakenvelder hens. They hop the 5 foot fence like its not even there, just to see whats on the other side.

    If you want your birds for eggs check out the heavy breeds...they are less likely to be flighty and for the most part are more personable. If you want bantams you really need to keep them up in a secure coop unless you are right on top of them. Sebrights and d'uccles are so small that your neighbors cat could take them at anytime with ease.

    Do a little research and check with your friends here in these forums and you should be able to get some birds and be able to take care of them responsibility with little effort. Oh another may want to give your neighbors free eggs to buy them off! [​IMG] When a hen lays her egg they can get a little loud cackling. (usually only lasts for a few mins) LOL you would too if something big that just dropped out of your backside.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
    1 person likes this.

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