What is considered free-range?


10 Years
May 13, 2009
Central Maine
Does it mean your chickens are out running willy-nilly on the property (which I would love to do if not for the neighbors dogs and what not ) or can I consider mine that are cooped at night and in a run during the day free-range?
I've always thought of it as being un-caged also. I would call being out in a run "cage free" but not "free range". However I would consider them free range if they are locked in a coop at night but let out during the day, since they freely return to the coop at night anyway.
Just curiuos is there is a "minimum time" on free range. I don't like letting mine wander when I'm not there, but they generally get anywhere from 2-8 hours out every day.
I think of free range as outside the run and coop...the run is often dirt pretty quick whereas once they get out of that, it's uncut, fresh grass and bugs, etc to their hearts content. That's how all my neighbors think too.
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Mine get out for an hour first thing in the AM, then variable between 3:30 - dark weeknights. Out almost all day until dark on weekends. Restricted to the coop/run just doesn't seem "free".

Don't think there is a minimum but they sure seem happy to finish the day that way! I would always shoot for that last hour before dark if nothing else.

Wikipedia: "Free range is a method of farming husbandry where the animals are allowed to roam freely instead of being contained in any manner...."
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