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How do we let our chickens free range during the week now that it's dark by the time we get home from work?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

We have four hens and a sweet rooster who spend all day inside our chicken tractor. Every day after work, we let them out right away to free range for a few hours before they put themselves to bed and we lock them back up after sundown.

 

But now that fall and winter are setting in, it's about dark by the time we get home from work. Will the chickens still want to come out to free range if it's already dark out by the time we get home from work?

 

I hate the idea of having them cooped up -- literally -- all week long until they can free range on the weekends.

 

Or are they happy to be less active and all nestled up inside the run and coop all week long during fall and winter?

 

We live in South Carolina, so "fall" is highs in the 60s and lows in the 50s and "winter" is highs in the upper 40s and lows in the 30s.

post #2 of 2

If it is already dark, no, they will not want to come out as they will be ready to be at roost.  How much space do they have while in the tractor?  Are you open to or adverse to constructing a run that would afford them more space but keep them secure in the time you are not home so that they can enjoy that during the shorter days?

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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Managing Your Flock › How do we let our chickens free range during the week now that it's dark by the time we get home from work?