When is it OK to let chicks range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AllChookUp, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    My flock of 12 chicks are abourt 2 months old now. I created an outdoor pen with snowfencing outside of their coop and run, so they have gotten used to being outdoors. They are mixing sucessfully with 8 mature hens.

    I'm thinking it's OK to take the snowfence away and just let them all range. I am guessing they will take their cues from the adult hens when it's time for them to go back in the run for the evening. Does this sound reasonable?

    I know there is always a risk of predators with any chickens.

  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I wouldn't, but that's me. I lost 9 8 week old chicks faster than I'd ever thought. (think hawks or owls) I'd wait until they have a bit more size to them.
  3. bald k9

    bald k9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2009
    Rural Edwardsville
    I have month old chicks ranging with my layers and all seems fine ,of course i am constantly checking on them ,plus we have a lot of shrubs and tree that they can take cover.....
  4. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Thanks, you two - I guess I am in betweem what you are each saying. We have a fair amount of hawks, so I know I have to be careful. We have a lot of trees for cover, aqnd the adult hens use then well.

    That said, I lost a couple of adults to a fox this spring. Running for cover doesn't help in that case. [​IMG]

    Thanks for your opinions!
  5. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    I let my chicks out of the outside brooder after a week in warmer weather, they are running with all the rest of my flock, they lean at an early age to run for cover when the roo's and guineas give out the warning call.

    If i did not have all these roo's guineas and geese i would not do it, but chicks will follow the older flocks lead and learn from them at an early age.


  6. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Wow, that's quite the flock you have there, Zaz.

    Nice pics- Thanks!
  7. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    UPDATE: I found the answer to my question. I let everyone out yesterday afternoon; adults and chicks. Walked up to the house, and a fox IMMEDIATELY attacked. It's like the fox was sitting just into the edge of the field, waiting for me to let them out.

    Fortunately, no one was killed. One Buff Orpington got a bite wound on the top of her back. I put Bactine on that, will watch her closely. I guess I'll just have to keep them all in the coop and run until I sort this out.

    Looks like I will have to become a fox hunter. I am a fairly experienced hunter when it comes to ducks, geese, deer, etc - But never fox. Don't even know where to start.

    Oh, well.
  8. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I let ours out at 12 wks, few hawks but they skamper for the underbrush at the sight of the sillouett. Couple coons at night time; no more. "MAKE HASTE SLOWLY".[​IMG]

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