There are many benefits of raising chickens free range compared to raising chickens in a chicken house. Free range chickens are chickens that that are allowed to roam freely and to feed themselves, just like they would in their natural setting. However, some measures need to be put in place to prevent the chickens from being stolen, to prevent them from getting lost and to protect them from predators such as raccoons, snake, foxes, hawks, cats, etc.
To begin with, the enclosure, also known as the chicken run, should be made from a wire mash that should run about a foot underground to protect the chickens from animals that might burrow their way into the chicken run.
The top should ideally be covered to protect the chickens from hawks, owls and other aerial predators and to prevent the intrusion of birds that may compete for food. Although there are some deviations from what the birds may do in their natural settings, such as you picking the eggs and housing them in a chicken coop in the evening, the setting should be as natural as possible. If possible, the chickens should even lay their eggs outside.
The benefits of keeping free range chickens
One benefit of raising chickens free range is that they produce organic eggs and meat. Research has shown that organic foods have many health benefits. There are no harmful chemical substances in these foods and the poultry products are tastier because the chickens live how they are supposed to live. Free range chickens diet comprises of whole grains or pre-mixed organic feeds, which are not genetically, modified GMO foods. Organic foods fetch more money and so if you are into chicken keeping for commercial purposes, you will not go wrong by rearing them free range.
Other important benefits are that you do not need to care for the animals as much as those in the chicken coops. All they need is a water source, but you may need to provide some chicken feed if what nature provides is not enough. You will not need to clean the chicken coop regularly and there is no need for an elaborate chicken coop because all they need is a place to sleep. Chicken coops, the ones constructed from recycled materials can cost as much as $300 and they take a lot of time and effort to construct.
Some advantages of using the free range system to raise chickens include:
- Raising chickens on free range system leads to better yields and productivity
- The chickens will feed on bugs and so they can act as natural pest control
- The free range system is most suited for areas where there are lots of insects such as grasshoppers and bugs. These make a tasty treat for the chickens.
- Free range chickens make great pets. After a hard day at work, caring for your free range chickens gives you a chance to unwind.
- Another benefit of keeping free range chickens is that they give the family a chance to bond in that they will have something in common.
- The children are taught important life lessons such as responsibility and the value of hard work and they are able to learn important skills such as how to market farm produce, how to care for animals and save money