Would my chickens be okay if I let them out all day

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lynette, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Lynette

    Lynette Chillin' With My Peeps

    I let my chickens out of their pen every day for about an hour, but I am right by them so I can watch them. I would like to let them free range all day, but I am afraid something will happen to them. I am surrounded by trees and my yard isn't fenced in. The only critters I see are the usual ones you see at night, but by that time they would be in bed. I must not have any fox nearby because I have a ton of wild rabbits in the yard. I have seen an occasional cat stroll through but that doesn't happen much anymore. My neighbor down the road a little ways lets hers out all day, but her yard is fenced in. I am more worried about hawks. My chickens are 4 months old now, so they are pretty good size. I do have the Bantams and the smallest on is an Old English Game, so she would probably be a good target for anything. Maybe if I just let the bigger ones out and see how it goes? I need an opinion so I know if I am just being worried for nothing. Plus they would love to get out all day.
  2. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    I wouldn't assume you don't have any foxes- maybe the rabbits breed faster than the foxes can eat them?

    When you free range, you take risks. It's up to you to decide if you're willing to lose some. If you absolutely don't want to lose any, then don't free range. Even if you are right there, that's no guarantee that you won't lose any to a quick moving predator. I don't think anyone else can tell you what to do.
  3. Lynette

    Lynette Chillin' With My Peeps

    The thought of losing any of them does scare me since they are like pets. I just wish I could let them out and not have anything happen. But if something did happen I know I would cry.
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Quote:Don't we all.
  5. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    If you are going to free range you have to assume preditors and be prepared for them, including the consequences of them including possible death/loss.

    My ladies free range ever day from about 10ish to 5ish. I have evaluated my property, known preditors etc, and decided that this is the time of the least risk for me. They wait for the 10 o'clock bell at the gate from their large chicken run to get out and run.

    I love it as it allows them to have the best most natural experience, but it also allows the grasses in their chicken run to still be in good shape. In the depth of winter they are restricted to their large run so it gets hard use during that time.

    Good luck in finding the right balance for you and your birds.
  6. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    I am the same way. Mine are coming up on 6 weeks old so they aren't free ranging yet, but I know I will worry myself crazy when they are. My plan is to start them free ranging a couple of hours before darkness- by the time they're old enough they will have been in their coop and run for a couple of months, so I am hoping they will know where home is and will stick close by. We'll see how it goes, and I fully expect to lose a few. I'll just have to accept that that's the price of free ranging.
  7. Stevo

    Stevo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Howell, NJ
    Mine are out from sun up to dawn. They are out right now enjoying our much needed rain. Yes I have many predators lurking but I will keep an eye on them as much as I can. I think freerange chickens are happy little buggers. If I had to cage them up I wouldn't have them. There is always a risk from predators even caged birds. More so for the caged birds as they have nowere to run. I have seen even my little bantams fly way up on the barn roof to escape from a hungry coyote. I was amazed at how well they can fly lol. Then as the coyote is circling the barn trying to figure out were his dinner went I have ample time to get my gun or run him off. The decision is yours though. Everyone hates to loose a bird we have raised, held, pet, and enjoyed. But it is part of being a chicken luver I guess.
  8. Hollywood Chickens

    Hollywood Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    I have a six foot fence around the property and the way it is a flying predator can't get to them, but cats and raccons can.

    We have only lost chickens at dawn or dusk so we always make sure they are in the coop by then, and since we got the coop secure we have not lost any even though we let 8 weeks old out in the yard.

    You can get the electric instant fence, my neighbor has it, but her dog still got one of the 3 month olds so I don't know how great it is. also you might consider training or buying a trained dog to guard the chickens. from what I have read Guinea hens will chase most predators away, but they are pretty loud. please excuse the brain storming!!
  9. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 7, 2009
    Southeast texas
    My flocks are totally free range, i don't even have a pen for them except for an outdoor brooder.

    The only way i can do this is to be home just about 24/7 i make rounds on my property at various times of the day on foot or ATV with some of my dogs, I have no routine.

    I have 6 large dogs some work the day shift some the night.

    I keep the woods cleared of underbrush for about 100 yard into them, this keeps the critters from sneaking up on my birds.

    Here is what it looks like

    I have established a no fly zone with hawks with bottle rockets and rarely see one fly over, if they happen by and see me they can't get out of the zone quick enough [​IMG] plus my flocks are very savvy when it comes to areal predators

    I make my runs to town at noon when the birds are taking cover from the heat in the safe areas .

    The only problems i have ever had with loses was ducks on the ponds and a bob cat was doing the deed, The dogs took care of that, haven't lost a duck sense Feb this year.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Lynette

    Lynette Chillin' With My Peeps

    That is why it is such a hard decision for me. They know what time I let them out and they are lined up at the door because they are so anxious to get out. As soon as I open their door, it is like a stampede. I know they would be happy and love to be out more. In the past couple of months or so that I have been out with them, I haven't seen anything. I have my dogs out with me to help watch. I noticed that the roosters are pretty good at keeping an eye on things because they make a weird sound if they see something. I guess I will have to try to find a time where I think there will be less danger, if possible. I don't think first thing in the morning is a good time, but maybe late morning to early afternoon.

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