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How soon can a new chicken free range?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Our little flock has dwindled to four hens. I want to add two or three more hens because we need the eggs. I've read some threads about introducing new hens, but none that specifically address my question.

 

The coop is an 8x10-foot closed section with the nests and roosts, attached to another 8x10-foot open section screened and with a dirt floor. I feed the chickens in mid-morning, keeping them closed in until early afternoon, when I let them out to free-range until dusk. They have plenty of room inside the coop, but they do love their free-range time. 

 

When I bring in the new hens, I assume I will need to confine them for a day or two until the introductions have been made and they feel settled in their new home. Is it then okay to let them out? Will they know to come home? Would it help to let them all out quite late in the day so that they don't range too far? There's no way I could let some out and keep others confined, so the existing four will have to tolerate confinement, and I would like to keep that to a minimum. 

 

 

post #2 of 7
I had introduced a few new hens and they where in there run for a day or two but no longer that that I had let them out and they all stuck together and never tryed to go any where just stayed there and ate grass with the rest of them I mean one had lost the others so that's one thing to watch out for beacause she almost was on the road until I got outside and back with the rest so I would let them in there pen for a couple of days and then once there are around them for a couple of days you can let them out with every one else but before you put them in with every one else I recommend to keep them separated for a while just to make sure there is no sickness with the new ones and ending up loosing all of your birds
post #3 of 7
Nice hen house
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much. That's very helpful and just what I needed to know.

post #5 of 7
Your welcome happy to help
Edited by Chicken Egg 17 - 1/28/16 at 11:59am
post #6 of 7

New chickens need to be quarantined away from the old chickens for at least 30 days to make sure they have no symptoms of illness, lice, mites, and it is a good time to worm them. After that if it is not too hot in your coop, I would keep the new hens in the rear part of the coop for 7 days with a temporary fence between the 2 groups, separate water and food. During the day you can let your old girls out to free range as usually. After the week is up, then open the temporary fence and let them decide when to venture out. This way usually ends up with less attacking or bullying, and the new ones learn quickly where they are to sleep at night. 


Edited by Eggcessive - 1/28/16 at 12:06pm
post #7 of 7

:welcome

 

I think you've pretty much figured this out already. It only takes a few days for the birds to know where home and the roost is. Leave everyone confined for maybe 2-3 days, and then for the next few days only let them out late in the day so they stay close and put themselves back in the coop easily. Chickens are powerful creatures of habit and once you get them set in their ways, they'll usually stay pretty faithful to that. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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