totally free range chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by oweirdo, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. oweirdo

    oweirdo Chillin' With My Peeps

    171
    9
    73
    Feb 21, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    I have a rather large "shed" I think it was horse stalls originally. It's closed in on 3 sides, open to the southeast. I was thinking of using that for our roost and laying area. And letting the chicken be totally free range, as the rest of our animals are. Most people I've talked to don't like the idea, I am being told the need to be cooped. I know of 3 neighbors let their chickens roam free and tbey love it. We are way out of town, no restrictions. I don't see the harm! Any advice?
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The harm will come in the form of predators, especially at night but daytime too.

    My chickens have always been cooped at night due to predators. I used to free range during the day but my flock was quickly dimished by coyotes. Roaming dogs are also a big threat and can wipe out a small flock in minutes. My birds currently "free range" in about 3/4 acre of securely fenced pasture, they are in a very secure coop at night. I have not lost a bird to a predator in many years.
     
  3. thowe

    thowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    206
    2
    121
    Nov 27, 2008
    NH
    I have lost two flocks to free range. It's fine to do but just be prepared. It's not if it happens it's when it happens are you going to be ok with it. The predators will find them and keep coming back till they get them all... Day and night!!!!
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict


    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bees-key-points-to-successful-and-safe-free-ranging
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. thowe

    thowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    206
    2
    121
    Nov 27, 2008
    NH
    Yes... What beekissed said. The ones that got taken out of my flock...were the fat fancy ones....Cochins, BO, silkies
     
  6. oweirdo

    oweirdo Chillin' With My Peeps

    171
    9
    73
    Feb 21, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    We have 2 livestock guard dogs, they are very protective. She won't even let Roadrunners and jack rabbits on to the property. We do live in an area known for the wild coyotes, but these two girls have yet to let anything happen to any of our animals. I don't really think daime excuse me nighttime predators will be a problem, the hop the hop being a problem at times
     
  7. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

    146
    13
    78
    Jan 2, 2014
    Free range is best for chickens when possible. Guard dogs and geese and a perimeter fence keep most predators away and a secure coop at night keeps the worst predators at bay. Once predators discover your flock isn't easy pickings they'll keep away, they don't want to work for nothing; just don't let your guard down.
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You should do okay at that point if you can keep them trained to the nests instead of laying out in the bush. Are your dogs okay with chickens?
     
  9. oweirdo

    oweirdo Chillin' With My Peeps

    171
    9
    73
    Feb 21, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    The oldest dog, 8 months is ok. The puppy 3 months I still have to watch, she wants to play with them. But over the past week she's made progress with leaving them alone. Now the chicks are a dirt floor "shed" the rooster is free ranged day and night. Since we moved in even before we got the guard dogs
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Really? I've been free ranging off and on for 37 years. I can count on one hand the birds we've lost to predators in that time from free ranging. The others were lost while they were in the coop and before we ever had dogs to guard them.

    It all depends on how you free range, not if you free range, whether your birds will get eaten by predators. Most have lost more to predators while they were in pens and coops then when free ranged.

    This article may help you...: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bees-key-points-to-successful-and-safe-free-ranging
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by