What life is best?? opinions welcome?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ravenxxx, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Ravenxxx

    Ravenxxx In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2007
    Well where do I start...

    Ive recently got four chickens and my word they have change my yard lol!!

    Everyone says hello to them and always asks how they are.

    My Girls (Ronaldinio, Bricktop,Tre Cool and Earold) are free range in the day, my yard is secure with sheep fencing all the way around. We shut the main gates so the girls can go onto the road (which is very quiet) but still rather they didnt just yet.

    Girls are out every morning about 6:30 when first livery comes to see her horse. My girls spend the day in and around the muck trailer on the yard and around the back they often come in their coop too.

    Yesterday i got a message 1 hen missing (Ronaldinio) eek!! I wasnt to worried as we seem to have loner, but no sign of her by dusk i look high and low even followed some feathers which were grey not ginger like my hens. I was upset poor chicken just vanished i told everyone to keep an eye out but she didnt turn up.

    SO i decided i was wrong to let them walk around all day scratching around having fun so i put their coop into a stable and shut them in, they can walk around the stable atleast.

    Well this morning my livery text she found the missing hen, in her stable in the horses hay bar!!! OMG couldnt believe it what a silly chicken. As you can imagine i was so happy for her [​IMG]

    Now i have a delemer
    Seeing as she didnt get eaten just flew over a stable door and went to sleep and I want free range chickens, they love it and so do I,
    So am i wrong to think let them live wild thro the day and if something happens i cant get upset?

    i jusr cant decided.

    We dont have half as many nasties as some of as we are in England but foxes are around.
  2. chickenboy

    chickenboy In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2007
    Hi ravenxxx, I let my chickens free range all the time and I haven't had problems around yet. If you see foxes around them you'd probably need to shoot them.
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Your little girl may be going broody, It sound just like something they do when they are thinking about setting.

    I love to let my free range but the dogs run around here uncontrolled. I have different dogs pass through each day. I only allow mine to free range when I a outside to watch after them. I have lost several to dogs and it is not worth the heartach. It is always the most friendly and tame one that get picked off.

    Is there some way you can fence off an area that will allow them sunshine and fresh grass or vegetation. I can always get mine back in with a hand full of scratch or a piece of bread.
  4. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    My friend Freebie has her coop in her pole barn and she lets her small flock free range. She will totally empathsize with you, as she has had several of her birds dissapear like that. Turns out they found great hiding places in her barn! She has hay stored in the barn and they love it. One day they were all in the top loft along with the barn kitty! They got up there by using the bales of hay as a stairway! Your hens will try and lay eggs up there in the hay. I am a big fan of free range, I think the birds really enjoy it, it cuts down on your feed cost in the summer and it gives them excersize. A good rooster will keep a sharp lookout for predators. You might not want the orneryness of a rooster tho. Sometimes the presence of dogs around might deter wild predators, I don't know.
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    You CAN have the best of both. Build them an inclosure, with a top and they can free range all day while being safe from predators and escaping. We have modified three large 'dog type' chain link runs into a larger long run for the chickens. We outfitted it with long roosts, branches, hanging feeders and waterers. We covered half of it with a plastic tarp so they can have a 'shade area' and a 'sun area'. It has 'people sized' doors for us and a secure top to keep the chickens in, while keeping the critters that might harm them out. Plus, it's not very heavy or hard to move, so you could move it all around your yard to give the chickies new places to explore. I am like you in that I want them to feel freedom, but I also want to know they are safe. A large enclosed run works well to satisfy both IMO.

    PS...Our completed run now measures 18'L x 6'W x 4.5'H, plenty large enough for our meager flock of 10-12 layers and 2 roos, I think. Each 'dog kennel' measured 6'L x 6'W x 4.5'H. We simply removed one panel (the panel with the door on two of them) from each so they could be connected as one larger unit. One of the kennels we bought "used" for quite cheap. Then we went online to find the others. All together, the whole run cost about $300. Considering it cost us only about $60 to build the end of our shed into a coop, we didnt mind the extra costs for the run! We connected the run to their coop so I can open their door and they can choose to go out or stay in. At night it should be quite easy to get them in bu just kind of shooing them to the end of the run with their door and closing it once their in. If anyone would like plans for this run we made, or info on where I found the other two 'kennels' online, just email me and I'd be happy to share! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  6. soonerdog

    soonerdog Songster

    I can't freerange my birds because of the predators and the fact that I live in a subdivision. I always try to place grasses and different greens inside the flight pens for them to eat that they normally would get if they were freeranging. While knowing that my birds will always be cooped within the flight pen I am ever mindful of not over crowding my birds. Less birds per pen reduces their stress and they are comfortable within their living quarters. Once I have a group established together I try not to introduce others, as I condsider these birds of a pen a group or family. Introducing others in a pen is often a difficult situation! Johnny
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  7. cockadoodlemom

    cockadoodlemom Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    I let mine freerange. In Januray I was very sick and I heard my babies screaming and when I finally got to the front porch to look out there laid my Spot. I took off to the back porch so I could go get him but he was up and running to hide under some brush. Thankfully he was only missing some tail feathers. I continue to let them freerange because they are just happier and I keep a eye on them.[​IMG]
  8. Ravenxxx

    Ravenxxx In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2007
    Well ive decided to let them go free range during the day.

    The hen which escaped wont stay in the stable she flew over the door 3 times and when we shut the top door she squeezed throu a hole in the bricks at the bottom so we decided to let them out before one of them gets hurt trying to escape.

    So today they are out once again and i must say i love to see them about, although we have had a weather forcast of snow, gales and rain eek!! but the girls are wisely staying near thier coop which is still located in the spare stable (will remove it when weather goes back to nice springtime again)

    So they are free to enjoy their life to the full, but that also comes the risk of nasties wanting to eat them, but i will keep an eye on them the best I can.

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