Want to try free range

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mtngirl35, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 16 chickens are ages 4-18 months old. I have always kept them in a coop and run due to neighborhood dogs. The neighbors got rid of the dogs and I really want to let my chickens free range on days I am off from work. So I have two questions. How far will they roam and will they go back to the coop at night? Between our land and family's land we are on 7 acres although I'm sure the chickens won't respect the property lines. Sorry...one more question. Our two dogs (who would definitely love a chicken dinner) live in a 3000 sq ft fenced area. The chickens won't try to fly into it will they? The fence is only 4 ft tall. Thanks in advance for any answers and advice.
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Unless you have bantams they shouldn't fly over the fence. And yes, as long as they know where the coop is they will come home to roost at night. There is no telling how far they will roam.

    Here is a list of pros and cons of free ranging that should help you make your final decision.
    Pros

    -Happier chickens
    -Generally healthier chickens
    -More room=exercise and ability to have more chickens
    -They will eat less food

    Cons

    -Easy targets for predators
    -Generally more prone to diseases and parasites
    -Can get hurt and killed more easily.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I wouldn't bet against any chicken flying over a 4 foot fence.
    But they might stay away from it if they are afraid of the dogs and have plenty of other areas to explore.

    Only time will tell how far your chickens will roam, but they should certainly go back to their run and coop at night or to feel safer.

    Good way to start the free range experience is to let them out just an hour or so before sunset so they don't range too far at first and are close to the coop when it starts getting dark. Next time let them out a bit earlier....play it by eye/ear if they seem to know where to go.
     
  4. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No,you must be in charge.A lot of predators are likely to kill your chickens at night.Put them upa round 4 or 5 o'clock.
     
  5. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will roam as far as their little legs will take them. Seriously, they will venture far and wide.
     

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