Release the flock! Free range times

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by krabed2007, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Just Hatched

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    I'm wondering what time do you allow your chickens start their free range?
    I read to wait until 10am to avoid early predators but my flock goes crazy if I wait that long, literally pushing and flying out of the coop! Lol
    We have a huge barn to go in plus lots of land to free range on. The only issue I have in the evening after dark there's about 6-8 hens that are my sassy little girls they stay with me, following me everywhere, pecking, squawking, grumbling/growling Funniest thing they'll squawk over and over until I come see what's going on. They get themselves into trouble and expect me to save them. I think they do it on purpose maybe for the attention because they're never actually in trouble or a situation they can't get themselves out of. Flying to the top of the bunny hutch, shelves etc! Or showing me they just laid an egg! They crack me up and totally make my day even better! [​IMG]
    They even make me carry them from the coop to the barn or vice versa if the weather is bad, they refuse to walk on rain or snow or in wind!
    Love them all and their different personalities [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Mine are allowed to go out whenever they want as mine are never locked in. Let yours out when you feel comfortable doing so, they will always be eager to be let out.
     
  3. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I open up my run at about sunrise each day. Here that is about 7am this time of year. We don't have a predator problem because our dogs keep them all chased off or killed. I've read the chickens shouldn't get out too early in the morning because all the nocturnal predators may not have cleared the area yet.
    Our problem is that some of the hens do not return to the coop during the morning to lay their eggs. So we have an egg hunt every afternoon. We usually find 4-6 in my workshop and about that many on the back porch.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    You might want to think about letting them out later in the day for a week or two. That may help "rehome" them to laying in the nest boxes. Do you have an attached run on your coop? If so, it definitely wouldn't be a problem to do that.

    OP, my chickens are let out first thing in the morning, they put themselves in the coop when it's time, I go down around dusk to lock them up.
     
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    When I said it was a "problem" I should have said drawback. I can't really call it a problem since my wonderful wife had me build extra nesting boxes so she could place them on the back porch and in my shop[​IMG]
     
  6. krabed2007

    krabed2007 Just Hatched

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    Do they coop up? How do you protect from predators?
    I let them out for breakfast and free range no later then 10am. We don't usually see sunrise until 7 or 8am. I open the coop door no matter what and leave it open all day. So the ones that want out can and come and go as they want.

    I've been cooping them up between 7and 8pm at night but it gets dark around 4 or 5 if we're lucky.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    All mine return to the shed by dusk. If any hens linger too long outside a rooster will round them up.

    My shed contains 3 donkeys who's pasture is most of my chickens range. They provide some predator protection. My husband mows the fields. If we experience any predation my husband goes a hunting.

    One year I lost 10 to a crafty coyote before my husband got him. Another year a Fox was coming around. Most years I don't have any troubles.

    There's always an open doorway on my shed for the donkeys and one for the goats, so my large breed flock can't be locked in.
     
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hawks are thick as thieves were I live so regardless of when I let them out of their coop and covered run I have to stay out with them.

    I lost a hen to a hawk the day after Christmas. I literally went in for 15 minutes, came out and one was down and decapitated, SOB.
     
  9. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    We almost lost a hen to a hawk a few weeks back. Luckily our black lab/pit bull mix was out with the chickens and saw the attack. She knocked the hawk off the hen. Looked like a flying tackle! The hen lost a bunch of feathers but was otherwise okay. I see the hawks circling nearly every day. Usually the chickens stay close enough to cover that they aren't a problem though.
     
  10. OKVet

    OKVet Out Of The Brooder

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    I typically wait until all the night creatures have gone to bed, around 0830 or so.
     

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