No fence?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katef842, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. katef842

    katef842 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2016
    My chickens are about 16wks old now. I have one rooster who just started crowing and 9 hens. He has also started being very protective of his girls. I want to know if it would be ok to let them out of the run/coop and they stay in the area? I would let them out before but I still had them fenced in with chicken wire, so it was like another run. I just want to get out but don't want them to take off. Should I wait until they are full grown?
  2. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2015
    Central Missouri
    Let them out for an hour or so just before dusk. That way they stay close to the coop and go back in after just a short time outside. Do this for a while until you feel comfortable letting them out for longer periods of time. 16 weeks is plenty old enough. Be vigilant about predators, you will eventually learn whether you can safely have free range chickens or if they need to be fenced due to predators. Mine are free range, but they have plenty of sheds to hide in and there are dogs out and about to protect them. They get taken every once in a while, just a fact of life!

    Welcome to BYC! Lots of good information on here!
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    It really depends on the sort of forage your property has. The diversity of the environment determines how far they will go. If you're property is almost entirely lawn, they will stray farther to find adequate forage. I've got just under an acre, and my chickens don't leave my property. The reason is, I've got a bit of forest, some over-grown pasture, lawn area, and berry patches. My flock has greens to eat, bugs to hunt up in the leaf litter, fallen logs to peck apart, seeding grasses, a variety of berries, and shrubs and trees for cover. Point is, they have lots of options for keeping busy, on a small piece of land. If your property is poor in forage quality or is lacking shelter or places to hide from predators, they will wander off to better hunting grounds.
    1 person likes this.
  4. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    X2 ^

    If you're worried that if you let them loose, they'll just run off, they won't do that. They know where home is; they want to be safe at night and safe is in the coop. They'll stick close to that and come back to the coop at dusk.
  5. katef842

    katef842 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2016
    Thank you all! I tried it one evening and yesterday afternoon. Everything turned out just fine. I will remain out there with them just because we have a hawk issue, which I lost two chicks when they were only a few weeks old. I haven' seen the hawk in a month or two but I take extra caution anyway.

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