YES! to free range or NO!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicklens11, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. chicklens11

    chicklens11 Out Of The Brooder

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    i have 8 chicks right now and i am in the process of building the coop and adding a run for them. but where i live i have 3 acres and there are houses around. so what are advatages to free range or disadvanteges to not free range i wanna make em free range but im not home during the day and dont wanna lose em or something happen
     
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would keep them in the coop/run while you are way or unable to watch them. Our birds free range whether we are home or not but they have a fenced in area with goats. Even though we have coyotes, hawks, and owls we have never lost chickens. Our dogs woud get the chickens if they were not fenced (we had a couple of incidents when a chicken got over the fence but the birds lived). Free ranging in open areas you always run the risk of predators and especially if the area is not FENCED. A neighbor dog could get a chicken pretty easy even if you are out and watching them in the open.

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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  3. Megan Amber

    Megan Amber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Free ranging is cool and the chickens seem to lay more and healthier eggs, however predators you don't even no you have will come out of the woodwork to feast! You would have to be committed to trial error!
     
  4. Gallinaceous

    Gallinaceous Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes. They keep vegetation down, which can be good or bad, depending on how you see it. My chickens seem happier when they're out and about.
     
  5. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Predators will likely be your biggest problem. I found that I have foxes and hawks after losing some chickens.

    With 3 acres, it shouldn't problems with neighbors. My flock usually stay within 100 feet from the coop, but will stray futher if there are temptations (worms, nuts, wild berries).

    Free ranging is definitely favored by the chickens. Just be observant and flexible. I constantly change free range time and duration depending on external factors. Right now, my flock only free range when we are home for 1 hr in the evening because grass is not growing.
     
  6. bugglesmommy

    bugglesmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have 5 acres and wish I could free range my birds but in my rural area people feel they don't need to bother containing their dogs.

    If natural predators were my only problem then I would certainly free range.
     
  7. TarheelBirdy

    TarheelBirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    My breeding stock do not free range, I keep them in their pens all the time so as not to lose them. However, my group of girls that I have for eating-eggs go out all day every day, unless the weather is too wet and/or cold. The eggs are better tasting and the hens are happier. We do worry about predators but have had pretty good luck - only two losses to predators but NOT while they were outside - both times they were killed IN their coop.
     
  8. chicklens11

    chicklens11 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all y'all's help! I wa thinkin would it be okay to let em out and free range like when I'm workin in the yard!
     
  9. Megan Amber

    Megan Amber Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ahh. Good conclusion!
     
  10. captmark

    captmark Out Of The Brooder

    Oh yeah... Wait till they can get around real good and are fully feathered... Free range tend to be smarter too.
     

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