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What age can they free range safely?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Erin80, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our babies are just 2 1/2 weeks old or so now (don't know the exact hatching date). We plan to keep them inside for quite a while yet as it's still quite cold at night, and even during the day on rainy days. They will eventually be free range, and in their coop at night.....what age are they mature enough to free range? Once they are a bit older and it's warmer, they will be in a covered run during the day until they are big enough to roam.
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you have hawks? Loose dogs around? Foxes, etc, etc. Free range chickens are open as free feed to the predators--Hawks love medium size chicks. Some can never turn them loose without loosing some.
     
  3. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No loose dogs (other than ours, he pays no attention to the chickens), we have foxes and raccoons but I haven't seen them during the day - I think the big birds like hawks will be most dangerous. I guess I will change the plans and make a bigger covered run for them until they are full grown.
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Is your Property fenced in all the way around? I seen a dog track on my farm so I set a big live catch trap and caught 10 dogs in a little over a week---using a live chicken as bait----protected of course. This trap was just outside my 6ft high fence that my chickens were behind. I bet if I had of let them out---I would have lost a lot of them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  5. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our property is different. Our house is up on a hill, along with a good sized fenced in yard for our kids to play (and this is where the coop will be, right up by the house). It is surrounded by large trees, so the chickens have a lot of overhead coverage if they stay on the upper yard or the hill heading down. Our lower yard (we have a set of stairs going down) is then 2 acres and backs onto a small river. It is all grass down there and a pond with limited coverage unless they stay along the tree line as the left side of our lower yard is forest.
    I'm really not worried about dogs. None of the people near us have dogs and I've never seen a random dog in the 5 years we have been here. My main concern for daytime is largs birds. Night time they will have a very secure coop (my husband builds all things to pretty much withstand a hurricane, lol) so I'm not worried about night time predators.
     
  6. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Good, you got some roosters in those chicks? I would say let them get some size then let them enjoy the area---the rooster will keep a eye in the sky then warn them to hide if he see's anything. If they have a big open area---little things placed around for them to get under when the rooster warns them is a good thing to have.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  7. iawoodchip

    iawoodchip Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was able to put the new chicks in the coop at about 3 & 4 week of age. No adults. A couple nights the temp dropped in the 50's & a couple dropped into the 40's. They took the temp's fine. Kept them in the coop 2 or 3 day before I let them explore the run, and another couple days later to explore free range later in the afternoon. They're 5 & 6 weeks old now and doing what chickens do. I lock up the coop at dusk, & everyone is there. My only issue is they covey at night instead of roosting. It's not unusual to find them roosting mid-afternoon. I'm thinking it's an age thing.
     
  8. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are supposed to all be females....but it's never 100%, so we shall see. I can't tell by looking at them....I will post pictures up again when they are 4 weeks (I did post pictures of each one in the "what breed or gender is this?" forum a week ago) and hopefully I can get some help identifying if they're male or female.
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Even grown chickens are near the bottom of the food pyramid.
     

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