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free range chickens anyone???

We're thinking about getting some chickens and letting them free range during the day. Does anyone have experience with this or have any good resources? We have about 6 acres of land and will have a chicken coup at night. We do have a garden and 2 dogs that will be a challenge. Thanks!!!

Re: free range chickens anyone???

  • soozy87soozy87 member
    Fifth Anniversary

    Make sure you put them in at night or it is likely they will get eaten by wild animals. Depending on the dogs you might have to keep them seperate as well.

    Good luck!

    ~May 21,2011~
  • Predators are your biggest challenge. Hawks, neighborhood dogs, etc. You may want to consider letting them free range within an enclosure, to protect them from harm. There are plenty of great books out there on raising chickens, and also plenty of online resources.
  • I have part-time free range chickens. I'm very protective of them and know that we have coyotes and hawks and other predators in the area. They are in their coop in the middle of the day (which is very spacious for the amount of chickens we have) with an outdoor enclosed area, but they are free range for a couple hours in the morning and late afternoon. I've learned that for the most part they can take care of themselves (once a hawk got pretty close and they were aware of it before I even saw it. They hid until I picked them up and put them in their safe coop.

    Chickens are very easy to raise and care for. And very inexpensive. Plus, depending on how many you have, you could raise a little extra money by selling the eggs. We get 1 egg a day from each of our girls, which is more than we could ever eat!

    Also, we do have a dog, but we hatched our chicks, so they met (supervised) when the chicks were less than a day old, so they are pretty comfortable with each other, but I'm still not sure I'd allow them to be together unsupervised. The dog could bite the chickens or they could peck at her eyes.

  • We live on 1 acre and and have a pretty good size garden which is enclose and 6 chickens, the chickens free range from 8am to about 2pm every day, at around 2 we brin them back to the coop, which has a run also, so they free range in the run, we then let our dog out to run around the yard. If I were you, I would enclose an area for your chickens close to the coop to keep them safe from the dogs, We only let the chickens in the garden for a short time, we they start going crazy we Lead them out  before they destroy it . It's so much fun having chickens and very addictive :) .  

  • As long as you spend time with them, they are pretty trainable and HIGHLY food motivated!!  Ours were pretty tame... all but one... the devil bird. They came when called and were easy to pick up and bring them back in at night.  They were free range from 8am-4pm every day and kept in a large coop in the barn at night.  Ours were allowed to go any where they wanted and pretty much stayed in sight.  They would roam about 4 acres of cleared land with trees and buildings.. As for predators, we worried about hawks, raccoons, foxes and Alligators. We live in FL  The only thing that got them was the raccoons and they dug up under the coop.  They also would spot a Hawk before we could.   Shaking a food bin or holding a bug is a quick way to have them follow you back to their coop.
    [IMG]http://i48.tinypic.com/5ckdw.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://i50.tinypic.com/23wnmz6.gif[/IMG]
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