Pros and Cons of Free Ranging

To free range or not to free range?

  • Free Range

    Votes: 40 61.5%
  • Large Run

    Votes: 25 38.5%

  • Total voters
    65

RollTideChicken

Songster
Mar 21, 2017
405
585
196
North Alabama
I prefer large run and let them free range when I'm home. I am about to try "grazing frames" in their run.
I like for them to have access to grass as much as possible, so I started researching and found grazing frames might be an answer. Kind of like bringing the outdoors indoors (so to speak). I don't know how they will work out yet but below is where I found out about them.
http://www.thegardencoop.com/blog/2012/02/07/grazing-frames-backyard-chickens/
 

Debby in france

Chirping
Dec 8, 2018
75
203
86
It’s a difficult choice, I have had both but now choose to let them free range. We have a very small oak wood (a woodling ?) which they can go into also numerous barns for shelter. Unfortunately I still lost Ingrid last week to a bird of prey. The wood is fenced off to deter animals but birds are another matter. The summer is ok as the trees are in leaf and the girls can’t be seen but now ... anyway now we have lots of cds, shiny windmills and silver tape everywhere. The girls are still traumatised but they can still go elsewhere. We also have two dogs which put off predators and we make sure Ben (in tact) does his duty around the fence.
My girls are happy and I would rather they be really happy for a shorter life than penned up for a long life. In the meantime I am doing all I can to keep them safe.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,518
17,569
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I chose not to free range due to predators(mostly hawks)....
... and (a close second) didn't want poop everywhere.
Yeah, they're confined and miserable(sarcasm)....but are alive.

Ramial wood chippings is the best for keeping mud, muck(wet poop), and the resulting odors at bay. You can add other dry plant matter in moderation.
This is not 'deep litter', I'm not trying to make garden soil.

Forget the fake owls(pic from internet):
full
I agree
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,518
17,569
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I agree with aart. I would consider the wood chips or maybe build up their run with some sand? Maybe you can expand your run. My birds have nice large pens. There's no grass anymore in most of them, but when I'm down working around the coops, I rotate and let one pen out for awhile, put them back and let the birds from another pen out into the pasture for awhile. I realize that not everybody has the room to increase the run size. Originally the pens/runs were 50' deep and several years ago I extended them out 10' more to 60 ft. I have not personally lost any birds when free ranging but I'm out there with them. Too many people I know have lost most of their flocks free ranging. One woman bought some birds from me to start her own flock and free ranged them and eventually lost them to predators and came back and got some more birds from me to start over. She did the same thing and asked me to sell her more birds, I said I didn't have any for sale.
IMG_20180503_094047.jpg
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Jun 23, 2013
8,948
12,696
967
The Big Island/Hawaii
Just having chickens on it is going to 'ruin' it. Even free ranging is going to ruin parts of your land.

2x aart ... I prefer the chicken "ruin" an enclosed section as opposed to my whole yard & garden. I converted to confining after just 2 RIR & 2EE nearly destroyed my back yard with holes going to China. If only they dug where I wanted to plant a tree, never knew chickens could dig so deep. Those I have now can dig all they want & my yard looks great. We all have our own preference :hugs
 

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