Hmmm..... well, I was hoping they could be loose when we're out back with them gardening and such, BUT
there is always the hawk or owl threat I suppose? I wonder if a Hawk would grab a big chicken? I donlt think the coyotes or bobcats would come close duringt he day becuase of our dog.
Hi Chicamama - welcome. Different people have different definitions of "free range". When I say my chickens are free range I mean they have the total run of our farm - no fences - no boundaries. They put themselves to bed in their coop at night.
The commercial industry gets to call it "free range" as long as the chickens have "access to outside". Even if there are 20,000 chickens in a metal building and there is one tiny door leading to a small kennel-sized fenced-in piece of concrete that the chickens have never gone outside to set foot on.
Most people's definition of their free-range chickens comes somewhere in between.
Hi Chicamama-- Topanga, CA will probably have coyotes as the #1 threat. Just a guess.
Yes, free range means the chickens can cruise around the yard and eat grass, bugs, worms, etc. although most people secure the coop at night. Free range chickens are the happiest, and they lay the best eggs. But, free range chickens are at greater risk of being eaten by predators.
Chickens can't see at night so just before sunset they come home from wherever they've been all day and hang around coop till it's practically dark and then they all head into coop, up ladder, onto roosts and it's nite-nite.
It amazes me how they know just where home is. We moved our coop across the yard, and I let them out to freerange the other night, and went out to shut the coop door before I went to bed, and they were so confused, they couldn't find their house, they were trying to find it where it used to be. They were so glad to see me, they came running and a sqwauking. It was one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.
I'm sorry if I confused you. In the mornings, I get up and open the doors and then at dusk at night they are all (most) are in their coops ready for night. I do have a few who refuse to go in and want to roost in the trees. I can't reach them so I let them do as they wish.
Ruth, I get tickled at the eggs at the grocery stores , caged free, free range, country eggs. Last week someone had dropped a dozen and I so bad wanted to say let's drop some of these cage free and free range eggs and see if they have that deep orange yolk as mine but I didn't. I just smiled and walked by.
I had read that they will sleep on the ground of the spot where their coop used to be if you ever move it. Once moving a coop you have to keep them confined to it and/or small run till they recognize it as "home".
Yes, they do get terrorized if it's dark and they can't get in their coop. At our other home we had a fenced run around the open coop but the door to each was always open. Those that stayed out a little too long would get kind of panic stricken and would try to go THROUGH fence instead of around it to door. They would see the others going up the ramp into coop and would just sit there trying over and over to go through the chicken wire fence and would get really wigged out. I would have to go pick them up and put them over the fence or take them around through the gate.