Yard Free Range Questions

HouseOfWirshup

Chirping
Aug 26, 2021
21
70
56
Hi all!

so we are completely new to backyard chickens.

We got our little flock of five about a month ago and they are now around 11-12 weeks old. They are confined to a run that is about 10X12 and have a coop in there as well which they finally go into themselves each night 🎉🎉

we’d like to allow them to free range during the day/ afternoon when we’re home. What’s the best way to begin this process? Do we take all five out or start slow? Start in one smaller area of the yard (we have about an acre) or just let them go for it? The entire property is fenced in and there are plenty of trees and other hiding spots for them.

As an additional question, we also have a dog who he would like to eventually not lock in the house while the chickens come out. Best way to introduce them? let the chickens get comfortable with free ranging first? Leash the dog??

Thanks in advance!
 

Maria1978

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2021
10
20
34
I let my chickens out of the coop to free-range during the day and lock then up in the coop at night. *note: I have a privacy fence so they cannot get out. We raised them around our dog (the chickens are 9weeks old now), so he doesn't nip at then and sees them as part of the household. He tends to just follow them around the yard.

I started off slow by having supervised time outside and than once I felt like they were coming back to roost and I wouldn't have to chase them down every day, I let them free range all day.
 

Isadora

Soli Deo gloria
Premium Feather Member
Mar 29, 2021
4,319
20,038
786
IN
When I first started free-ranging my chickens, I started with a small fence around the outside of the coop. After they had gotten used to exploring that area I removed the fence, and even now they don't go very far beyond the original fencing. If you'r whole backyard is fenced in, though, you could probably just let them out.
 

HouseOfWirshup

Chirping
Aug 26, 2021
21
70
56
I let my chickens out of the coop to free-range during the day and lock then up in the coop at night. *note: I have a privacy fence so they cannot get out. We raised them around our dog (the chickens are 9weeks old now), so he doesn't nip at then and sees them as part of the household. He tends to just follow them around the yard.

I started off slow by having supervised time outside and than once I felt like they were coming back to roost and I wouldn't have to chase them down every day, I let them free range all day.
Thanks for sharing!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,477
13,145
656
western South Dakota
If your property is fenced, then that is really just a larger run. It will work.

Let them out about an hour before they go to roost, or back to the coop. They won't go far, it is scary out there. After a little experience, you can let them out earlier and earlier. However, do know,
  • that the more you let them out, the farther they will go, but generally do come home at dark
  • do not think that free ranging can make up for too small of coop/run.
  • it is helpful to train them to a treat shaking in a jar with a call. That way if you need to lock them up quickly, you can.
  • They will love and destroy you most prized horticulture plantings, in the amount of time it takes you to say to your mother, "I can't talk now, the chickens are out":barnie
  • predators can find you, once they find you, they will be back. One left me a note, please add BBQ sauce, we are tired of them plain! ugh!
  • your eggs will taste better
  • Always have a coop/run that allows them to stay safely in lock down 24/7.
  • If you have predators - don't establish a pattern of everyday at 7:00 I let them out, predators figure this out.
  • Don't let them out on very windy, or cloudy days, gives too much advantage to predators.
Mrs K
 

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