Want to try free range

mtngirl35

Songster
6 Years
Dec 10, 2013
460
68
121
Tennessee
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.
 

Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Apr 23, 2014
28,457
6,075
677
Colorado
My Coop
My Coop
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.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,018
122,968
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
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.
 

ThePRfan

Songster
5 Years
Sep 27, 2014
1,194
31
121
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.
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.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom