To Free Range OR Not???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rocky4052, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Rocky4052

    Rocky4052 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2007
    Southeastern Ma.
    I've been raising 23 white leghorns, which are now 15 weeks old. This site has been great for info!

    Being the flighty and nervous birds that these are, should I let them free range? I am afraid that if they don't return to the coop, I will have a hell of a time rounding them up. Any info or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I'm sure there are others out there with leghorns. [the reason I got leghorns, is because of there superior egg laying abilities]
    Dan
     
  2. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Hi Rocky and welcome fellow Bay Stater!
    That is why I do not like the leghorns because they are so flighty anf there are other good egg layers that are much calmer.
    I would let them out, by now they know where their home is and they will return. Or just let a few out at a time until they all get used to it.
    Mine were in lockdown for a few days because of a brazen coyote and were miserable. I let them out yesterday and I have never seen such a bunch of happy chickens. They are much healthier and happier when free ranging in my opinion. Plus the eggs are better!
    Granted though when you let them out they most likely will all stick together like glue. Some people do it a couple of hours before dusk, today is Sunday so it you are home give it a shot!
    Yes, love this site, I have passed it on to so many people.
     
  3. CtlisencedArborist

    CtlisencedArborist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2007
    Eastford,Ct
    Hi,nice to meet you.My conclusion was to make a 300foot pen.Two 150 foot rolls of chx wire and 20 stakes.Cost me about 200 bucks.Havent seen any hawks around latley.If its windy I dont let the small guys out of there 20*20 pen.They also have a laying pen and two other rooms to "play"in.Didnt have a prob when Id free range them,like them not running away.Just have alot of predators and neighbors dogs.I am at rest with my desicion.They get plenty of fresh cuttings and im in the makes of dividing half the pen and growing them some nice wheat rows....enjoy![​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. Rocky4052

    Rocky4052 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2007
    Southeastern Ma.
    They are awful nervous. The next ones will be RIR's. My neighbor has some, which have wandered into my yard . They seem to like the greenery in my yard better than in their own. [not that I mind] We can just pick them up and return them with no problem. They "escape" from their pen once in a while, when somebody does not latch the door properly. He does not let them out intentionally.

    I'll let a few of them out later on today, and see what happens. In the meantime I will be looking for other responses, hopefully from some leghorn owners. Thanks for the replies!

    Dan
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    At one point I had 18 leghorns in addition to my regular flock. Flighty as can be but sure were beautiful literally flying a few hundred feet towards me when I had goodies. Then it rained and they didn't look so good. [​IMG] Flying mudballs!

    As long as you are aware of the risks of free ranging from predators. I say let them out. Mine always came home just like everyone else. I sold most of mine but man. I have never had a bird lay that many eggs through rain or shine. Right through winter! Crazy huh?
     
  6. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    I’m here in defense of free ranging leghorns! I only have two, but I do know what you mean about the nervousness. I cannot come close to picking them up any more (15 weeks).

    That being said, they are terrific free rangers. Always the first back in the coop and we never had to ‘train’ them to do it (except leaving them locked in for two weeks before free ranging). I say let ‘em try it.[​IMG]
     
  7. Rocky4052

    Rocky4052 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2007
    Southeastern Ma.
    Well, I took everybody's advice and let them out! When I opened the door, they didn't know what to make of it. It was actually very funny. They were all crowded together at the open door, but wouldn't exit. The ones up front would keep starting to go out, but would "chicken out". Yes, a pun was intended.
    Finally, after about 5 minutes, one of the girls toward the rear of the pack got impatient and flew out over the rest. After that, a bunch more followed. They seemed to enjoy it, and pecked at everything in site, staying within 50 feet or so of the coop.
    My 8 year old labrador retriever spotted them right away after my wife let her out of the house. Fortunately, she does listen to me.{the dog, that is-can't really say the same about my wife} I just had to say, " CoCo ! Don't you even think about it!" She knows what that means and backed off.
    They were out for about 2 1/2 hours, and promptly when dusk was setting in they all marched back in together.
    I guess I found out that chickens aren't COMPLETELY stupid! Dan
     
  8. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2007
    central KY
    Kind of the same question but not. Do you really need to let chickens free range? My neighbors aren't the best people in the world to be around and a chicken won't notice a property line so I keep mine penned up. Also if they are penned do they need food access at all times?
     
  9. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    Good Job Dan, I bet they will all sleep well tonight!
    And yes, at first they are very hesitant to leave the coop and pen. It is all new to them and now they will clamor to go out and play and eat bugs and grass. Mine had a wonderful day outside today, they put more miles on then a long distance truck. Back and forth, back and forth, they have so much fun. Usually around suppertime is when I do the cluck thing and that means treat time. Do NOT get in their way as they come running like a herd of horses. They love dry oatmeal, I buy a big container and they go nuts for it. It was so much less humid today and just a nice day.
     
  10. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    **||OKLAHOMA||**
    I dont understand!!! My leghorn is the NICEST thing on earth!!! She never flys,and is so calm!!
     

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