Free Range Chickens
Crystal Miller

It will soon be time to start thinking about buying baby chicks. I try and buy mine in the winter so that by early spring they are laying eggs. We have had up to 70 chickens at a time and have always had our birds “free ranging” .

The term “free range” chickens simply means they are freely allowed to roam our property during the day eating and enjoying a wide variety of grasses, weeds and bugs. By raising our hens this way we are giving them access to a more natural type of diet. This diet in turns produces some very healthy eggs! The egg yolks are high in Omega 3 oils which are so needed by our bodies.

Our chickens live at night in a coop and we let them out during the day. One obvious question that may come up if you are new to raising chickens is how do you ‘train’ them to go back to the coop at night? Well here is the good news; you don’t need to train your chickens at all! Chickens are ‘creatures of habit’ and will willing put themselves to bed in the same spot each night.

When we first move our chickens from the brooder to the chicken coop we don’t let them out of the coop for a couple of weeks (except for their little fenced in area outside). In this way they get very accustomed to their new home.

Then after this period of adjustment we open the door a few hours before dusk and let them out. As soon as it begins to get dark all the hens head right back to the coop to go to bed.

Over the course of the next few days we begin opening the door earlier and earlier until the hens have the routine down.

This method allows us to have the best of both worlds. Our hens are safely locked up during the night to keep them away from predators and have freedom to move around and enjoy roaming our property during the day.

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