So we have some backyard chickens. We had been unsure about how much we should let them free range in the yard. Mainly because we have hawks around here and they would eat them.
I tried to read up on how best to let them be free to roam, but safe from predators and it seems that we've settled on letting them free range (walk about) when we can watch them or be around enough to be aware of a threat. Just us being here will scare predators away.
It's worth it to us because we have invested in them and we really get a lot out of each and every one we have. Great compost for the garden, eggs, entertainment (especially for my daughter. Hilarious), meat (eventually), etc. Not to mention how awesome they are to use up our leftovers. Chicken scraps are great for someone like me that cannot stand to throw anything away. My fridge has never been so clean and I have not had to throw anything out between the compost and the chickens (food wise). Love it! We try our best to thank them by letting them have time outside. Thanks girls!