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what age to free range a new flock - Page 2

post #11 of 16

I never free range my chicks till they are 9 weeks old and supervised visits at the end of the day.

Train them to a call or a scratch can shaken. 

If you have a cat? wait till they are bigger. Young chickens are flighty but mellow with age.

post #12 of 16

:welcome

 

Start them slowly. Free range can mean a lot of different things. I'd start with some supervised free time. Not only supervised for their safety, but realistically you're not going to be able to take your eyes off watching your cute little chicks explore the world :D

 

Open the door an hour or so before their normal bedtime. Understand it may take them a while to explore, they're baby chickens and know they're at the bottom of the food chain. Doing it at this time in the evening will play on their natural instinct to return to their established sleeping place, they should automatically head to bed as dusk nears. You can let them out a little earlier each night. 

 

Combine this with training them to come for scratch. A little bit of grain in a can, shaken, makes a great cue to teach them to come to. Training them to come to a shaker can might come in very handy down the road if you have lose birds. Shake to make the sound, then toss out a bit of scratch so they come to associate the sound with the food. You can also add a call, I do "Chick chick chick". The little buggers are highly motivated by food, and with a week or so of this you'll be able to call them back to the coop during the day if you need. 

 

Keeping them safe from predators is pretty individual. I let my littles out when they're 3-4 weeks old, but it's with the larger birds, my dog to keep an eye on things, and just in my yard/close to my house. I don't have much of a predator issue. We each have to make our own assessment and plan accordingly. 

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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post #13 of 16

i put them outside in a pen during the day right after we got them from the pet store

 

1 week later i noticed they will not stay in the pen anymore (unless they need to eat or drink)- they were foraging in my yard this age..  i'm new so i don't know how old they are from this picture.. 5-6 weeks (3 of them) .. and 2-3 weeks (2 of them)  ??

 

DSCF3395.JPG

What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #14 of 16
Mine are 2.5 weeks old and I let them out in their run all day. Do you have a covered run?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

I do have a covered run, but it has absolutely NO GRASS!  

9 ISA Brown, 7 RIRxCOL, and 4BR
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9 ISA Brown, 7 RIRxCOL, and 4BR
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post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazychickymom View Post
 

Hello all.. I am a first timer with chickens.  My flock of 18  are 7 weeks old.  I have no older chickens for them to learn from.  At what age can I let them out of their run to "free range"  Thanks in advance!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazychickymom View Post
 

how would I "round them up" if I had to leave??  LOL.. such a newbie.  There is one of me and 18 of them...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobandSue2 View Post

Saving scratch solely for round up time (shake it in a cup and they come running) is helpful for me...then they know they are getting a treat

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazychickymom View Post
 

I do have a covered run, but it has absolutely NO GRASS!  

Fun!  Others have given you good advice.  I agree that they will need to be supervised for a bit longer, till they are closer to full sized.  This depends a lot on your risk tolerance, and your specific circumstances:  Dogs in the neighborhood, hawks, fenced yard, cats?  IMO, one of the most important thing to do with chickens is to teach them to come when called.  Nothing more frustrating than trying to round them up before you leave to go to an appointment.  Also, it's helpful if you can round them up if you become aware of some sort of threat.  As other posters have stated, a bit of scratch in a can, and a special call that they associate with the goodies go a long way towards teaching them.  It also helps if they don't have food out 24/7.  A chicken who's looking forward to supper is more apt to return when called.  If your run has been stripped of grass, it would benefit from a deep layer of mulch.  This will change that baked cement soil into a loose moist soil that is laden with worms and insects to give the girls lots of foraging opportunities right in their run.  A mulched run is also much more healthy, and less likely to harbor pathogens.  You can use:  grass clippings, fall leaves, garden debris, hay, straw, wood chips, and when ever you clean out the coop, just toss that used bedding right into the run.  If you're having a hard time coming up with enough bedding for the run, you can contact a tree service and have them dump a load of wood chips.  You'll be amazed at how quickly all the stuff you add will melt into the soil, and eventually, you'll have yards of compost that you can then use in your gardens.


Edited by lazy gardener - 5/30/16 at 5:09pm

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
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