The Free-Range Chicken Society

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gresh, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone!

    I hope no one else has posted something like this...if so, my bad, and let the moderators delete mine! [​IMG] But if not, I thought it would be good if we free-range chicken owners could share our experiences, tips, and problems with each other, so that each of us can better keep our chickens happy and healthy in a way that their instincts appreciate the most!

    I personally have been free-ranging my chickens for five years, and although I've lost a few birds along the way to predators or disease, in the long run it's all been worth it, and my birds have been happy and content.

    Feel free to post pics of your free-range flock, coop, etc.!

    Happy ranging,
    ~Gresh~
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I do it. Requires flexibility and being observant. My flock is closed so replacements of all losses made in house with enough left over for exporting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  3. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi centrarchid!

    My dream one day is to do essentially what you said: replace all losses with birds I breed myself. I am not a professional by any means and have never bred my birds as of yet, but one day I hope to do so. As of now, I don't have the quality stock I need to start such an endeavor. All my birds are hatchery stock; and while it's sometimes possible to get decent birds from hatcheries, it's not all that common, and one day I plan to buy from an experienced breeder with good stock. As a member of the Russian Orloff Club, my dream is to raise Russian Orloffs.

    But for now, I stick with my hatchery mutts and do my best to keep them healthy and happy. [​IMG]

    By the way, do you have any recommendations for encouraging broodiness in hens? I have had only one hen that went broody, and she eventually went broody out in the woods and I never saw her again. I know broodiness is largely in the genes, but I have heard that sometimes a flock owner can encourage it. I'm just asking because I would really like to raise chicks without going to the feed store or using an incubator.

    ~Gresh~
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My games require no stimulation although I can reduce clutch size at time of setting by restricting ration a little. Hens in spring give me the 14 to 18 egg clutches when forage quality is at its peak and hens are in top weight. Same hens latter in season after stressed by laying and brooding coupled with a leaner forage base produce smaller clutches of 10 to 14 eggs (some overlap) with older hens producing on average smaller clutches as season progresses. Game hens greater than four or so seldom go broody on clutches larger than 12 eggs unless nest has be cuckolded.
     
  5. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You've got games? Well I guess that would explain why they go broody so regularly. That is one reason I have always been interested in acquiring gamefowl. I once had an Oriental gamecock, but quickly learned that I was not ready for games. It takes more experience than I have to successfully manage a gamefowl flock.

    One problem I have always had with my chickens (since I moved to my current house) is that they love to visit the road. Usually I have had to put them in an enclosed run when this happens. I used to think it was a result of there not being enough to forage on my property, but in the summer, when food is plentiful and all's well with their world, they still go down for visits. Actually lost one hen to the road. Thankfully I live in a rural area where the drivers are regulars and are accustomed to slowing down near my house.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have games and American Dominiques. Latter get broody easier when a little underweight.

    I have had road issues as well. Generally that is easy to manage against using feeding stations and cover located well away from road.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @centrarchid

    I would keep feed stations but generally don't do so because my chickens tend to gorge themselves if given such access to food. They do not appear to have self-control!

    One of the things that makes the road attractive to my chickens is that I live on a mountain and the trees grow right alongside the road, offering nice cover for them.

    @aart

    Sorry about that...didn't mean to detract from anyone else's thread. [​IMG]
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'm sure you're not detracting from 'anyone else's'....just thought you'd like to browse that one, with it's year of experiences.
     

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