I have had dogs all my life. When I was a kid I had a dog for as long as I can remember. At first they were my parents’ dogs and eventually I had a dog of my very own.
When I moved into my first apartment I went to a shelter and got a dog almost immediately. He was a little scruffy “Benji” type dog and he was always so excited to see me when I got home from work. Probably being locked in the apartment all day had something to do with that.
We live in an area with an abundance of predators. We’ve had coyotes and bobcats as well as hawks and owls within 100 feet of the homestead. In addition, we have neighbor dogs that roam the area freely.
These factors are not favorable to letting our chickens free range at will. However, we do enjoy the benefits of letting them forage for their food when we can.
Before letting them out of the chicken yard to run free it is important that they know where home is. We raised these chickens from hatchlings but we still didn’t let them out the first day in the big coop. We made them stay in their yard for a few weeks until they consistently went to roost in the coop each evening.
I’m sure you’ve all done it. You’ve walked by the water troughs underneath heat lamps in your local farm store. You’ve heard the beckoning “Peep Peep Peep” from the unseen shadows inside. “What was that?” you wondered, “I’ll just take a peak.” And low and behold inside was a small hoard of the cutest, most vulnerable balls of fluffy ducks and chicks.