another free range question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by one shot, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. one shot

    one shot Hatching

    Jun 14, 2010
    Elk Grove
    I read in " Raising Chickens For Dummies " that is not recommended that chickens free range until a good egg laying pattern is established.
    My RIR and Barred rocks that are 10 weeks are getting a bit antsy in there run. I have intended to let them free range,but have been holding off until they start laying. I don't want to have a Easter egg hunt on a daily bases.
    Has anyone let there chickens free range before there old enough to lay and not had a problem of them using there nest boxes once they do lay eggs?
  2. gardenak

    gardenak Songster

    Apr 3, 2009
    Douglas, AK
    Yep- they'd go out every night after I got home from work- in the other Free Range question above this post I said when I fed them I'd rattle the pail and call to them so they always come running when I go outside. Once they started to lay, I didn't let them out until late afternoon. I only found 3 eggs (from different hens) once in the garden. One laid ther and the others saw it and did the same. I disposed of those, filled the depression they'd dug and it never happened again. I've had one that wanted in the box so badly while I was cleaning it she shoved past the running hose! And I found an egg on the floor because another wanted in a certain box and it was already occupied. Have fun! [​IMG]
  3. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    I let my birds freerange from 6 weeks on, & they all go to the nest boxes to lay when they're old enough, & roost in the barn on their perches at night.
  4. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I let my RIR out for the first time today. They had a ball. I stayed their with them. I think their full & worn out.
  5. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Yes, I've done it and it works out fine. They know where the nest boxes are and they use them. Stay alert for signs of submission and "practicing" in the nest boxes. It can't hurt to toss a golf ball in each nest either. Worked for me!
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing 8 Years

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Another idea, is that you don't have to free range them all day or every day. A couple times a week, I leave my in the run for the whole day. Does not seem to bother them. And I think it kind of confuses the predators in the day light hours.

    Many days, I let them out in the morning, and get them in in the evening, and sometimes, I let them out for a partial day. I think they are healthier getting some more running space, and it keeps the run cleaner, but it is safer in the run.

    When they are locked in the run, it reinforces the idea of laying in the nests. However, only once in a while, will they create a nest outside of the coop. If you experience a drop in eggs, and you have been free running them, leave them locked up for a day or too, and they will go back to laying in the nests.

    Also, always call your hens when you take food or treats. Sometimes you might want to lock them in the run before dark. I have lost many a hen, when the run was open and I did not get home til past dark.


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