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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jo Anne, Mar 3, 2013.
Do you keep your hens out during the day when you go to work?
Do you plan on free ranging your chickens???
My hens are in tha large fenced enclosure that surrounds their coop while I am away from the house. They are only allowed to free range when I'm home and either myself or my dog (or both) are outside where we can keep an eye out for predators.
no free ranging our law states they have to be enclosed. so while i go to work assuming i have a well secure pen once they are outside in the morning, they will be ok if secure in a safe pen.thanks
If it's warm and I can let my dogs out in their outside pen I will let them free range. If not the chickens stay in their coop and run.
Sure do. They stay in their run, which is 15' x 15'. IIt's exposed to all the sun and fresh air, and surounded by grass and blackberries. Several areas of sun and shade inside that run, and several "toys" including my old Christmas tree. Their coop (3'x8') is inside the run as well, but elevated so they can be underneath it and have the entire ground of the run to use. The run is surrounded by 2"x4" welded wire, which is protection enough during the day. So no worries leaving them in the run even when we are gone for an extended period of time.
My chickens are free to go where ever they would like during the day whether I'm home or not. I open them up in the morning before work and when I get home in the afternoons, they are waiting for me to bring me some scraps! Of course, they get closed up at night time. So far so good.
If you let them out of a predator proof (harder to build than you might think) coop/run you are risking loss. If you can live with that, I think it is nicer for them to get out for a while, but I have a huge prairie for them, I also have lost hens.
Mine also have a good set up, and I try not to get more birds than will live comfortably in that set up without being let out, cause sometimes you need to leave them locked up.
I do have better luck with a roo that is getting close to a year old, not a pup.
Despite the risk of loss, I do let my chickens out in the morning before I leave for work, and put them up in the evening. I have not lost a chicken to a predator during daylight hours. I did lose several Guineas because they tended to wander much further from the house/barn area.
My chickens (currently numbering 13) have an 8 x 8 shed turned coop and a 20' x 20' covered enclosed outdoor pen/run. When we are out of town for a few days and my Daughter comes to house sit, I do leave them in their pen so she won't have to worry about putting them up in the evening. They HATE it! 20 x 20 should be enough outside space for 13 chickens, but they much much prefer to free range.
The biggest problem I seem to have with free ranging is the "find the eggs" game!
We used to let ours free range during the day - whether we were home or not. They sure did love it, but then we started losing chickens - one every day or so until I just couldn't take it any more. We bought the plastic owl, hung twirling CDs in the trees, but we still kept losing them. Of our original 12 chickens, we only have 5 left. It was heartbreaking for the kids, so we just finished building a run. They hate it! But, they stay in the run until about 3:30 pm when the kids get home from school, then they spend the late afternoon wandering around the yard.