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Lots of questions

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello to All,


I have a few questions to those of you that have a fairly large flock ( 30 + birds).  Currently I have a Blue Isbar Roo (4 months old) and a pain in the rear already and 6 Rhode Island Reds that are not laying yet (about 3 months old)  They have all been moved out to the coop and stay there for now and seem very happy there.  I am constructing a large pen 400+ sq. ft. for them now so they can get out in the open....however, I was thinking about just free ranging them during the day or for part of it while I am at home.


With this said and the fact that they have not been outdoors what can I expect?  We have plenty of ground 15 + acres I just don't want to open the door to the coop and never see them again!  Will they know to come back to the coop?  Will they go into the woods and never return?  Just do not know?  I have another 27 chicks on the way at the end of this month so as they get old enough I don't want over crowding and thought free ranging them would be best and them put them up at night.  Any thoughts?



post #2 of 3

If they are accustomed to the coop as being their "home" they will be instinctually drawn to return to it at roost time -- you can use this to your advantage during their initial free range trips to help them get in the routine by releasing them to range in the late evening (last couple of hours of daylight) so that they aren't out *that* long before they are drawn to go to roost.   Once they are in the routine you can start increasing the time they are out. 
Alternatively, teach them to come when called so that you can issue a "recall" when you need/want them to come back to the coop (this is beneficial for those times you need to gather the flock before roosting time.  Start by issuing whatever call you want to use (vocal, a loud/rattly noise - water bottle with handful of scratch in it works great, etc) and tossing a handful of treat to them.  They will learn to associate that sound with the arrival of treats and before you know it you'll be able to step outside with not a bird in sight, call and see them come running from all directions to try to be the first to get to you. 

Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
post #3 of 3
If you free range them and have precious flower or veggie gardens, do know that they will tear those gardens too pieces in no time. Unless you somehow fence them away from it.

Ol Grey Mare gives very good advice.
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