Afraid to free range, how to gather them up???????????

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chris10sen, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. chris10sen

    chris10sen In the Brooder

    May 30, 2010
    OK, so my babies are 6 weeks old. They have spent a couple of days in their run and two nights out there. So I am anxious but also scared silly to let them free range. If I do it for an hour before dark do you think they are familiar enough to go to the coop? Should I wait a few more nights? I love these litter critters and I am scared to lose them and don't really look forward to chasing them.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  2. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    Hi, I would keep them in the run until I knew they were going into the coop for the night on their own, then when I knew they knew what to do I would give them time just before the sun went down
  3. Pumpkinpup

    Pumpkinpup Poultry Princess 10 Years

    Jul 16, 2008
    North-West Georgia
    If it were me, I'd wait till they were older. 6 weeks is pretty young to be free ranging and expect them to go back to roost in their safe coop. I'd give them at least another 6 weeks.
  4. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Songster

    Aug 2, 2010
    We are raising 5 chicken in suburban setting (1/3 acre) since March 10.
    Here are some things I learned.

    1. Good to have large enough coop AND run. There might be situations
    when you need to lock them up all day / all week.

    2. In the beginning (and still) we fed them close to the coop, so they
    know where the food is.

    3. We also closed the part of the area where coop is with 2 ft chicken wire.
    They never jumped over it. This is to make sure they know their place.

    4. After a week or so, we removed the cornered wire and the chicks didnt venture
    out much. They learned to get into coop and roost on their own.

    5. Over the next few months, they ventured around and it got to the point of flying over the fen
    and escaping to neighbors yard.

    6. We decided to trim their feathers to discourage escape.

    7. Now things are normal, they free range in the yard (fenced around). Come to coop
    to roost.

    8. I wish I had built the heavy coop in shady area. Its hot and the chickens dont want
    to come to coop until late evening. I am worried they are going to drop eggs
    elsewhere instead of coming to nest boxes in the coop.

    Hope that helps.
  5. chris10sen

    chris10sen In the Brooder

    May 30, 2010
    Thanks for the advice. Twelve weeks will be my goal. I just didn't know if I should introduce it to them when they are young.
  6. diverkell

    diverkell In the Brooder

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicopee, MA
    I would deffinately wait for them to be older. I let mine out when they were a little over 2 months. I put weeds and grass in thier pen to keep them entertained until the big day. While they were staying in the pen I rang a cowbell every time I gave them scratch. They would come running for the treat every time they heard the bell. It only took 2 days for them to learn to come to the bell. Just be sure to treat them each time they come. Now, each time I need them to get in their house, I just ring the bell. It works great. It was really helpful the day a fox ran through the yard and grabbed one of the girls. Everybody else scattered into the woods. (I got the chicken back from the fox.) I rang the bell and they all came back. Good Luck.
  7. AlaskGirl

    AlaskGirl Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    I had an interesting complication, I recently moved 8 older chicks (prolly 8-9 weeks old) in with the free-ranging 1 yo's. I tried to let them free range but the little ones didn't know how to go back in, I had to chase them down and it looked like I was terrorizing them. Now they're all unable to free range for the time being. I feel bad but I'm not going to scare any more by chasing them around, it got frustrating for all adults and fearful, I'm sure, for the chicks.
  8. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    The birds are afraid to be out after dark. That is when the boogie man is out. So they naturally search out a place to hide when it gets dusk. If they are too young & are not used to the coop they may go & hide anywhere they feel comfy. Wait until they are older & the coop will be imbedded in their long term memory. Once that happens you can (as I do) let them out first thing in the morning & they will go home every evening on their own.
  9. chris10sen

    chris10sen In the Brooder

    May 30, 2010
    Diverkell I love the bell idea. I will start working on that right away. Hopefully in a couple of weeks everything will come together!
  10. blue boy

    blue boy Hatching

    Jul 29, 2010
    MY birds were about 12 weeks old when I bought them, I kept them in a good sized enclosed coop for 2 or maybe 3 weeks so they could realise this was their home. ie plenty of food , water and a comfy straw bed. I then let them run free range all day but I put them safely back into the coop of a night. in fact they now understand that they go back and I only have to lead them. be brave !!!
    blue boy

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