What does it take to free range different flocks.


9 Years
Apr 20, 2010
New Brunswick, Canada
what goes into free ranging. anybody have some advice for a newbie. things i might not have considered?
Im not talking about chicken tractors.
I have just over an acre of land. would like to put a fence up someday and let-em go at er. what type of fencing would i need?
We have our EE's and CornishX. would like to try some FR though if we did fence the yard up.
What would it take to have to bring them in at night? I would never leave them out since we lost our cat to the coyotes two years ago.
daytime predators don't seem to be a problem, although once the hawks and eagles notice we have birds we might have a problem. As long as we wouldn't loose too many that wouldn't be too bad i guess.
as far as integrating the meats to the layers each year
Would a Silky be able to rear a meat bird. I know they are kinda smallish for rearing meats, but has anyone tried,
I just had to ask haha
what kind of bird would be big enough to raise meats and prone to broodiness? we did the brooder thing and i did not like it. that's the broody's job


13 Years
Apr 15, 2008
Dunlap Illinois
Lots of questions there.

Free ranging is as easy as pie. The chickens cant read maps or street signs so they don't know how to leave. They really do stay put. They will however wander to the neighbors yard if there is something tasty over there like a bird feeder. You won't need a fence. Make sure your neighbors are OK with the chickens occasionally hanging around there.

If you only have a few birds they may stay on your acre. If you have more they may wander farther.

I have 2.5 acres & 28 birds. They have never left my yard & I don't use a fence. I have a run - but when I let them out they are out.

You do not need to bring them in at night - chickens will always go home (the same home too) at dusk. They will not stay out at night. I have had one or two not make it back in time for me to close the gate. They found a roost in the woods to spend the night & were OK in the morning. Just remember to close them in the coop at dusk & let them out in the morning. Nothing else needed.

Silkies will rear meat birds - but they can't sit on more than 6 or 8 eggs that size at a time. They will have no problems rearing larger birds.

Hope this helps.


Free Ranging
14 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
Fencing is always a good idea. A 2x3 in. welded wire fence would suffice and I've even kept chickens in with chainlink but the little chicks can permeate the barrier.

A perimeter fence can help protect your flock from stray dogs and such and can keep you from wondering where your hens have made a nest...an acre is easy to search.

They will come home to the coop to roost.

You can run your meaties with your layer flock and any standard bird can rear a flock of meaties, provided there aren't too many. I have a White Rock hen that was surrogate for my 20 meaties this year~I have a thread about it on here.

I have free ranged my meaties right in with my layer flock and have fed them the same rations. I can see very little difference in the size of my birds compared to other meaties on this forum that have been raised on free choice and in a pen.

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