Afraid to let the girls out to free range for the first time!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rhody josephine, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. rhody josephine

    rhody josephine In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2011
    Hi All,
    I'm new to chickens and have found soooo much information just by reading the forum and realizing others have similar questions. My 12 girls are 10 weeks old now, have been in the coop and outside covered run for 2 weeks now. I want to free range them...that was my original goal anyway...but I'm finding I'm scared to let them out of the run...even surpervised!!! Over protective Mama??? Maaaaybe.....Any advice on how to make the big leap??
  2. duckinnut

    duckinnut Songster

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    Maybe just start with 1 or 2 rather than all 12. Let out different ones at other times. Then let more out as you become more comfortable with it. That is what I did.Now they are all out including my 10 week olds.
  3. The reluctant chicken

    The reluctant chicken In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Litchfield County
    I'm with you on that issue also. I know they know where they live, but...what if they decide to roost in a tree as opposed to go back to the coop? We are surrounded by woods with lots of predators. I wanted to do it tonight, but DH said...if they go into the trees...yada, yadda, yadda.UGH!
  4. Omah09

    Omah09 In the Brooder

    Find a treat they like. Mine all come running when I they think I have a treat. I can easily get them back in their pen with a bowl of yogurt. They're only about 10 weeks old too but I only have 4 and a very small yard.
  5. wayneh

    wayneh Chirping

    Jan 25, 2011
    N. E. Alabama
    If they have been housed in your coop and run for 2 weeks, they should be fine. at 10 weeks, I don't think they will wander off very far. we were free ranging our 3 RIR's that were 12 weeks and our 2 white leghorns that were 8 weeks. the big girls would range about 100 yards from the coop. the white leghorns would only venture about 50 feet. they should return home bout 10 minutes after sunset. have fun
  6. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    watch what time they tend to go to bed (usually just before sunset but mine are early birds), and let them out just 30 minutes before that time. they shouldn't go far. give them nice treats to keep them close. stick around to make sure. most likely they'll go right to bed on their own. do this a few times, extend the time a bit. once you test them out this way you can be pretty sure (as sure as you can be as there is always a risk) that they'll be fine.
  7. hcppam

    hcppam Songster

    Quote:this is a good way to do it...worked for me. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. rhody josephine

    rhody josephine In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2011
    Thanks!! I'm going to try letting them out an hour or so before "bedtime". They are pretty regular on getting back to the coop at dark. Maybe tomorrow I'll give it whirl!!
  9. Pele

    Pele Songster

    Feb 25, 2011
    I was exactly in your shoes several months ago when I was going to let out my girls for the first time. I was so incredibly worried! So I did the same as what you are planning: waited till several hours before dusk so they couldn't go too far. I sat down in a nearby lawnchair to keep watch over them, then nervously opened the door to their run.

    Wouldn't you know it, my chickens were..... well chicken about the whole thing. They eyed the edge of the run warily for about an hour, unconvinced that they wouldn't instantly die if they stepped out. By the time that they actually had gotten outside of the run by a few feet, it was dusk.

    Slowly but surely my chickens ventured farther and farther, and slowly but surely I got less and less worried about them.

    Now I enjoy nearly every evening on my patio, watching my chickens freerange while I eat dinner and sip wine with my DH all throughout the evening.

    What a life, chickens are the best!
  10. farmgirlforever18

    farmgirlforever18 Songster

    Mar 5, 2010
    Dublin TEXAS
    i free range mine from the time there about 8 or 9 weeks and they were all raised in the coop and like 15 min before sunset they all go back in the coop for bed [​IMG]

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