Should I let my banties free range?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 22, 2010
My husband and some family members say I shouldn't because they are like wild birds and will not come back to the coop. Also, that they are more vulnerable to predators. I have 4 silkies that cannot fly and 5 sebrights and Japanese buffs that can fly. I have planned to clip some feathers on one wing on each of the sebrights and buffs. We let our big chickens that are in a separate coop free range. A few years back we had a pair of Hamburgs ( large chickens) that would not come back to the coop at night once they found they could fly to the barn rafters. My husband is afraid that will happen to our banties. They are not safe on those rafters since many predators can climb up to them. Needless to say those Hamburgs did not live long. Can anyone give me some advice?
I too allow all my silkies to free range all day right along with my large fowl chickens. They always march right back to their coop each evening. They also go to their coop many times throughout the day. It's their security blanket. Of course this all depends on your property circumstances etc. I have hawks but the family cats hang with the chickens and I think that helps keep the hawks away.
My bantam breeds free range with the big birds. I think they're SAFER because they DO fly (I don't clip wings) as opposed to the large fowl who don't have all that much lift when they take off. One of my Sebrights flew right past my HEAD the other day, but that's because he was late to the Treats Offering.
Not silkies but my friend has Japanese fantails and as a matter of fact has babies right now - they are free range and so free range that they are not fenced in when they do - they wander the yard and put themselves to "bed" when it rains or is night time - waiting to be shut in - he has never lost a one or had issues - they dont really stray too far from their coop to be honest.
Thanks to all that have responded about letting my banties free range. I can't wait to show your response to my husband. When I let the big chickens out to range it about breaks my heart to watch the banties begging to get out too! I have tried to give them extra grass to eat and treats. Also, I have hung apples for them to eat and chunks of old wood that have bugs in it to keep them busy. My husband even made them a swing to play on, but it just doesn't seem to be enough. Thanks again, you have made my day.

I wanted to let everyone know that we let our banties out to free range. We started with an hour in the evening near roosting time and gradually have increased their time out. It has worked out very well. They are actually better behaved than the big chickens were there first times out. Thanks to everyone for your response. I hope you get this message as I know almost nothing about posting messages and believe that the last time my response probably didn't get to anyone since I forgot to login. Oh, well! I'm learning.
That's great! I let my bantams free range as well, mostly in the evenings, and they go up really well. They'll go up on their own when it gets about dark, but if I need them to go up earlier, they usually respond very well to treats.

The main threat I've encountered to the chickens is wandering neighborhood dogs, but since our neighbor across the road got rid of his dog that was always wandering around into everyone's yard except the one where it belonged, we haven't lost a chicken. I also used to let our chickens free range all day, but after the previous mentioned dog killed the one rooster we had at the time, I cut it down to a few hours in the afternoon/evening. I also only let them out when I'm planning to be home, also stemming from a dog attack earlier in the spring. Luckily, the rooster got away with only missing tail feathers and a minor bite on his back and is all better now (the rooster had been let out of the lot because our guineas (which we have since given away) had started attacking him.

I know with free ranging there's always going to be the risk of predator attacks, but I'm hoping that the steps I've taken have at least minimized the chances somewhat. I'd rather face some risk than have to keep all the chickens cooped up all the time, and I just really like to see them all out behind the house running around and doing their chicken thing.
I use to let everybody out and they all would come back in but this summer has been very bad for my flock lots of predator issues and this after 3yrs.of not loosing a single bird.This year I have lost at least 10 and lots of chicks.So now I am very cautious and I will only let the chickens out that are completely feathered and can roost high.

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