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Thinking about letting them free range this evening

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Is there a recommended number of days chickens should be confined to a coop and run before letting them free range?  My pullets (approximately 20 weeks old) have been here now for 3 weeks.  The first week or so they would not come out of the coop hardly at all.  Now they spend more and more time in there run.  I don't plan on free ranging all the time but would like to let them out for a few hours from time to time when I am home in the evenings.  I am guessing at this point they won't wander off too far and will know where their coop is.  Any reason not to let them out some this evening or should I give them more time?

post #2 of 5
You can let them out by now. By 20 weeks they should be almost full grown. I lost most of my hens to my farm cats because I let them outside too early but almost 7 months should be fine.
post #3 of 5

3 weeks is more than enough, and at 20 weeks old they will know where home is. When I first let my chickens out to free range, I thought they would be making long hikes far from the coop but in reality they only were at max 100 yards from the coop. I would try and let them out at 1 hour before sun set. Unless they're really outgoing they probably will only stay within >30 feet of the coop. Hey, mine didn't even leave the run when I first opened the door!

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
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In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I let them out and about 20 minutes later I had to leave so instead of trusting they would find their way back I got out the treats and they followed me back in and I closed them back up. That was their first taste of freedom ever and this morning as soon as I walked outside they came a running, hoping to get out to the yard again. If I get home before dark this evening they can take off again.
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyin-lowe View Post

I let them out and about 20 minutes later I had to leave so instead of trusting they would find their way back I got out the treats and they followed me back in and I closed them back up. That was their first taste of freedom ever and this morning as soon as I walked outside they came a running, hoping to get out to the yard again. If I get home before dark this evening they can take off again.
They do love it.
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