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? about Letting Chicks out of Run

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by melirobin, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. melirobin

    melirobin In the Brooder

    May 22, 2008
    These are my first chicks ever. 2 BR, 1 BO and 1 silkie.

    They are 4 weeks old, go out into their run during the day and back into my basement at night because their coop is not finished.

    In the evening after dinner I like to let them out and peck about the yard a bit, it is a very relaxing thing to watch them just do their chicken business. Why is that?

    Anyway it is beginining to get difficult to catch them and put them back in their brooder.

    If I continue to let them out am I going to regret this? Will it only become harder to catch them? Also I have a small suburban yard with veggie and flower patches. So far the girls have not wandered out of my yard or caused much destruction in my gardens.

    I am wondering if this will become more of a problem as they get bigger.

    thanks for advice.
  2. brooster

    brooster Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    northwest Ohio
    if they know where their home is they will go in on their own after dark. (more so if there is a light in the coop) I would watch them and see if they go in on their own. They will for sure later, but they need to be sure what home is. The garden will be ate until it is all gone, they are pigs, also not at this age, but when they get big they eat more and get into more trouble. Wait, they are only four weeks? They are to young and dumb yet, make sure you watch them close, and i my self would not let them out yet, but if you feel safe then thats fine.
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    My understanding is that you let them free range in your yard during the day and then catch them and carry them back into your house right now because their coop isn't finished? If that's correct then:

    I would suggest teaching them to come to you when called. Use treats and call something like "here chick, chick, chick!". They will quickly learn to come running when they hear that (mine come running whenever they see me - even if I don't have a treat every time.). Then, you can make a temporary "catch" pen somewhere. Use some chicken wire around a few stakes or something you have handy - leave open one side, stand inside and call the chicks. As soon as they go inside that pen, close it and then you can more easily catch them to take them inside.

    They will destroy your yard, garden and plants as they get older. They will also start to free range further than your yard as they get older.

    It is great to sit and watch chickens "do their thing" though isn't it? I love it ...I've even caught my hubby just standing and watching them. [​IMG]
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Our flock has the run of our farm, which is completely fenced at the perimeter. However, ALL of our fruits and veggies are in fenced gardens. [​IMG]

    If you don't fence the garden areas, the ladies will harvest your veggies before you do. And they love to sit under taller bushes and flowers in the heat of the day for the shade. Even if you provide a dust bath area for them, they will dust bathe in the flower beds. I don't plant any flowers that can't stand up to a hungry chicken digging for bugs. Thorny roses are good. They lay under them for shade, but don't dig or dust bathe under them because of the thorns.

    I agree, if you leave a light on, they will run back towards the house when it gets to be dusk. We lock our flock up at night to protect against predators. We started getting our flock to return to the barn by offering treats and slowly walking them back to the barn. The whole time we were doing this we'd say "come on now, back to the barn". Now our flock is 2 years old and when we need to lock them up (tornado warnings, we have to leave and it is near sunset), we just tell them "come on now, back to the barn" and they go. Another thing you can do, is to stand a few feet away from them and say "I have treats!" in a happy voice. Then move a bit and say it again. After a while, they will learn to come when you use this phrase. Cottage cheese and yogurt worked well as training treats for our flock, and they may work for yours. If you let them have the run of your yard, they will run to the house whenever you have something in your hands, because they won't want to miss out on any treats. [​IMG]

    If you are going to let your flock forage your whole yard, you will need to retrain them where their home base is once they move out of the basement. So after you get the housing done, put them in and don't let them outside. Do this for at least a week. When you let them out after this lock-down, they will always think of the hen house as home. If they have a fenced run attached to the house, it may only take them a few days to get acclimated to being able to come and go as they please.

    If the weather is good and they are fairly well feathered, it should be fine for them to be out at 4 weeks.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  5. melirobin

    melirobin In the Brooder

    May 22, 2008
    thanks everyone for the replies, all are helpful.
  6. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    A really great read for anyone keeping a very small flock is
    Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, suburbs, and Other Small Spaces by Barbara Kilarski, published by Storey Publishing.

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