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??? On free range chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bulldog-girl, May 22, 2008.

  1. bulldog-girl

    bulldog-girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2008
    Estacada, OR
    I don't have my chicks yet but like the idea of letting them free range. We are on 2 1/2 acres with christmas trees growing all around us. If I let then out when they are big enough, do they know how to go home? I would not be able to supervise them every minute they were out. I never free ranged when I had chickens before but some learned how to fly the coop and always made it in at night.
     
  2. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    Yes they will be able to find the way home. I would certainly recommend penning them up for safety at night. Obviously if you can't supervise them while they free range there is a chance you will loose some to predators such as hawks.
     
  3. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    My chickens free range all day on our to acres. The week I kept them penned up in there coop so they would learn where to roost. Once they get use to roosting in one spot they will usually keep roosting their at night.

    If you let your chickens free range, you should be ready for a few losses a year. 5 of my chickens were killed last year from other animals.

    You will need to lock them up at night, since they are real vulnerable when they are roosting. I f you have a run on your coop it would be a good idea to put netting or wire on top to keep birds of prey out.

    There is a lot of good stuff about free ranging though, my hens go crazy if they are cooped up for a day. They also get to eat more bugs.


    Good luck:)
     
  4. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    My chickens free range during the day and come home at night. They also seem to do OK at using the nest boxes for laying.

    Not all chickens will come back to lay but will find another place. Some people say don't let them out till later in the day but I let mine out in the morning unless we know we are going to be gone all day.

    I live out in the country so I am prepared for losses. I also have the run covered.

    The birds I have free ranging now were adults when I got them. The first time I had chickens I lost some that were about 6 weeks old. That's when the run got covered and I waited a couple of more weeks before I let them out.
     
  5. bulldog-girl

    bulldog-girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2008
    Estacada, OR
    Thanks for all the info. I am planning on a large outside coop pen and covering it. I was also planning on letting them out a little later in the day. We don't have any woods close by so don't get as many predators but I do understand that they can meet with a sad end.
     
  6. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    I was also planning on letting them out a little later in the day.

    That would be ok if you were watching them the whole time, but that is the time predators frequent. My chickens free range all day, but must of the ones I have lost where in the morning and evening.

    We don't have any woods close by so don't get as many predators but I do understand that they can meet with a sad end.

    Stray dogs will be a big threat if there is any around, most of the chickens a have lost were from dog attacks.​
     
  7. me&thegals

    me&thegals Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Wisconsin
    Last year, we had our new chickens free ranging before they were old enough to lay eggs. So, they got used to laying eggs EVERYwhere! This year, they've had all winter to roost inside and lay in nesting boxes. Now, when we let them out for the day, the ALWAYS come back in to lay eggs and to roost at night before dark. Very nice job, girls [​IMG]
     
  8. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    I let my girls free range around just in my back yard. We have 3 acres, but they like to wander into my neighbors yard,he's a bit of a butt head, so we have to keep them in our fenced portion. Even in our backyard we had a Sparrow Hawk swoop in and kill our litle Banty roo, Jack last fall. They go in like clock work every evening. They all walk up their little ramp and in the go. I have never had a problem with them not going in unless their pen door was accidently closed and they had no choice. They used to lay eggs all over the yard..everyday was Easter around here! But they got it. Now I have no problems at all!
     
  9. HAMISH

    HAMISH Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2008
    We have been given a small family group well should I say they made there way to our plot the and stay all day we feed them till dad rooster comes and leads them back at night the neighbours dont want them we made a large run 50x30 no roof as yet in there is an outbuilding where mum has laid her eggs .
    They are free range and stay with us all day just the night prob where they go back to roost
     

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