Want to go free range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by julymc, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. julymc

    julymc New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2009
    I have a small flock and would like to go free range. What is the best way to let my chickens out with out preators getting them? I have a small dog that likes to chase them and drag them around! That is why I have been keeping them up. I read about electric fence about 5" from the ground. What keeps the chickens from jumping over the wire? Please give me any ideas.
     
  2. pringle

    pringle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Pepperell,MA
    I think it would be best to buy some high chicken wire then attach the electric wire to it.It will keep the chickens in and the predators out [​IMG] .Also to be safe make sure you put them back in at night.
     
  3. Glenda L Heywood

    Glenda L Heywood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    ee ranging chickens are just that free range
    so predators will denote there is nothing stoping them from eating the chickens

    do you live in town?
    do you live close to the trees?
    are your free ranging acres large?
    Do you have any access to fox, cons, skunks, dogs!!! or any other predators?

    I never free ranged but kept mine in a 50 ft x 50 ft pen
    with 4 ft heavy fence
    mine were bantams and did not fly over the fence

    you have to decide what amt of fencing suits your situation
    the 5" electric fence is a dumb idea for chickens
    expensive and most would fly over it
     
  4. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    [​IMG]

    A 5" wire will do nothing. Your birds will go over it, and so will your dog. Not to mention the beasties that want to eat your chickens.

    If you want to let your birds outside, and I recommend that you do, you will need to either babysit them or build them a run. Look through the coop design pages. There are many different kinds to choose from.

    Good luck!
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I'm wondering if the electric fence 5 inches off the ground you read about was intended as running an electric wire near the ground outside regular fencing to help keep predators from getting close and digging under? Doesn't make sense otherwise.

    You'll really have to plan on a lot of losses if you free range. Predators come out of the woodwork for chickens in a coop. Free range is a free and easy meal ticket for them.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    I have an electric fence running around the perimeter of my coop, but it's not there to keep the chickens in. It's there to keep the cows out. Occasionally one of the chickens will hit into it, but because they are in flight at the time it does nothing. Without their feet touching the ground they are not grounded and don't get a shock.
    There are movable, flexible electric poultry fences for sale. They are pretty expensive. They would keep most chickens in and most predators out, but not the very determined ones.
    I successfully free range with the knowledge that at some point I will suffer loses. It's worth it to me. So far, so good.
     
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    Quote:YUP and YUP. The only disagreement I have is the relative cost of the electric netting. It's not much more expensive than the horse fence I use for my run. To me, it's worth it to not have to be constantly vigilant while the birds are out of the run. Of course, I haven't yet purchased it, so take me with a grain of salt. [​IMG]
     
  8. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    I use plastic chicken netting and step in fence stakes. The stuff is so cheap you can make a huge huge huge space and move them around whenever you want to. I love it. I bet you could run a hotwire on it some out with the insulators and stuff.
     
  9. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2009
    When I go to my coop at 7am my girls are pecking at their plexiglass door. ready for outdoor time. I tried a basic run for them, but they are SOOO much happier free ranging. They come back to the coop during the day to lay, but otherwise they are all around the farm, the yard, horse pastures, manure pile, etc... We have a pair of nesting red hawks, fox, coyote, racoons, all around us but the girls free range all day and head inside about 30 min before sundown. Then I close up for the night. I kept them in the coop for 3 days to establish it as home and they have been great. Could you lose a hen (or more) free ranging? Absolutely, but they are so much happier then any penned animal that it's just a quality of life issue. BTW- I get exactly the same number of eggs as when they were confined but my feed costs are down by 50% +.
     
  10. highwindsfarm

    highwindsfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2009
    Forgot to mention... of course you must train your dogs to respect the chickens. If you have established all basic commands with your dogs it's fairly easy, and really a pleasure to see your dogs basking in the sun as the girls work the ground around them.
     

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