Caring for free range chickens is a complicated balancing act. On the one hand it is richly rewarding to liberate your girls from the confines of their coop, yet, on the other hand, the mother hen in all of us normally comes out and we find ourselves chasing the girls around the yard, warning them of all the dangers they might soon unknowingly wander into. So, before you fling open the gate and rechristen your chooks as fully free range chickens, it’s important that you consider the pros and the cons of this bold but irresistible move.
The upside of free range chickens
There are so many advantages to keeping free range chickens. From their toenails to their eggs, everything seems to be better when the chickens are left to fend for themselves in the wilds of your backyard. Some of the benefits of keeping free range chickens include:
For these reasons and more it’s not just the flock that benefits from being free range chickens, but also you the owner, who can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that your girls are living a life a cut above the rest. With this in mind however there are some dangers that you need to be mindful of.
The dangers and downsides of free range chickens
As is often the case, there are some disadvantages that come from letting your girls live the free range chicken lifestyle.
Ultimately, safety is the key concern when letting your flock behave like free range chickens do. Your chickens will have some difficulty defending themselves in a free range environment because, to put it simply, they are not at the top of the food chain. There are some tips and hints though that should help your girls adjust to free range chicken living.
How to safely transition your chickens into the free range lifestyle
Some owners make the distinction that their flock is either full-time or part-time free range chickens. The difference being that full-time free range chickens are left entirely to their own devices, essentially free to run wild over the property. Part-time free range chickens spend most of the day out of the coop, exploring the world however they come home at the end of the day to a safe warm coop. There is any “right” or “wrong” way to do this, but we recommend allowing your chickens the live the free range life on a part-time basis. Here are some handy ways to ensure that your flock lives a happy life as part-time free range chickens.
The key to having your girls live happily as a part-time free range chickens is basically to establish barriers and parameters for their own protection. Your girls may never be totally safe from all of life's little dangers, but so long as you put measures in place to protect them from things that you know will prove to be threatening, you and your chickens should live a happy life together.
Letting your flock live the free range chicken dream is a truly rewarding experience for both you and your chooks. Though there are some challenges to face along the way to ensure that your girls are protected from some of life’s dangers, ultimately you’ll feel deeply gratified in knowing that you have brought limitless joy to the life of your flock.
One way to ensure that your free range chickens are safe at the end of the night is to make sure they have a safe coop to spend the night in, like the Taj Mahal, Penthouse or Mansion. Who doesn’t like to come back to a safe home after a fun filled day?
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