I'm new to BYC and to raising chickens! We just got 6, 8-week old RIRs last weekend. So far (i.e. 4 days), so good. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions in the weeks/months/years to come, so I'm thankful for a support network like BYC. Without further ado, my first question:
I plan on keeping the chickens in the coop until the weekend (this will be about 1 week in the coop, just to get them acclimated). I then plan to let them "free range" (in a sizeable enclosed area that will gradually expand as they grow and as I have time). I suppose I'm wondering if I need to move their food and water into the yard/run while they are out there, during the day, or if I can just keep the food and water in the coop. Will they return to the coop even throughout the day to get food and water?