What exactly is free range? How much can you protect your chickens from predators before they are no longer free range? One of the several reasons for the amount of time past since the last few posts is our recent fencing project. With our location and animal threats in the area, we like to have a defined space for our birds to roam. Other than the area directly outside their coop, which we call the run, nothing else is covered over. The run itself has the ability to be closed to keep the birds confined in a smaller area. This comes in handy when introducing new birds, and also lately with the recent Avian flu scare in parts of our state. It was nice to confine them briefly and reduce the risk of exposing them to an improbable exposure to the bad stuff.
The rest of the space of our side and back yards are pretty much free to roam for our chickens. None of the fences including the new ones are over five feet tall. None of our birds wing feathers are clipped, so they on occasion do fly over and see if the grass is truly greener. For all intents and and purposes, we pretty much built the fence to keep out stray dogs and to settle out a sense of security. It really was simple and followed the basic principles we learned and used on the construction of the “run.”
This took the better part of a Saturday, which pushed back some of our other chores. Falling back to the original question of this post, What exactly is free range. Our birds are given a daily ration of feed, and are free to forage throughout our property. We have provided them some natural and artificial cover with bird netting in their run. These ladies are pretty much free range until I shut them in at night and that is only for their safety.