Another newbie question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by coolcanoechic, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi everyone,
    I love this site and you all have been such a terrific help for me. It's so nice to be able to come here and get answers to all my dumb questions.....I love it! [​IMG]
    This is my question for today.
    I got my hens about a week and a half ago. They used to free range before we scooped them up and transported them to a new world. My back yard. A nice coop and run fit for a queen. They have been slowly adjusting. Shirley, my NH Red has been wonderful. She is the first in line for treats, and comes up to me now. She even took a few bites of scratch from my hand. She makes all kinds of noise when she see's me. She's such a sweetie. For the last few days, she has been asking me to let her out of the safety of her run. I really want to, but the man who sold me the birds said to wait a few weeks before letting them out. ( By the way, I never had any intention of free ranging...hence only 3 birds ) I want to let Shirley out. I was thinking that I could let her out a half hour before sunset and just stay with her as she explores. Would that be ok? Then I can help her make her way back to the coop. I don't think she would go very far from the coop that late in the day. Any thoughts on this? I'm thinking of doing it this afternoon. They usually head inside around 3pm and get ready for bed. They like to start early. So I thought I would let Shirley out at 2:30 and stay with her. It would be a short experience if all goes well. I'm hoping she sticks close to the coop and wants to go back in soon after coming out.
    Thanks for your thoughts!
    Nancy
     
  2. heatherscreations1969

    heatherscreations1969 Chillin' With My Peeps

    194
    3
    81
    Sep 14, 2011
    Derbyshire UK
    My chickens are out free ranging in our backyard from 8am to 4pm (winter) 10pm (summer) and they go back into their shed/coop on their own on and off all day and at bedtime, but then again I am in the UK so less predators [​IMG]

    I would do what feels comfortable to you, try them outside the pen today 2.30 to bedtime and then slowly extend their time outside as you can safetly gauge the risk factor.....chickens do benefit from free ranging and human company [​IMG]

    *hugs* Heather x
     
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    17,601
    752
    416
    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Quote:There is no such thing as dumb questions just dumb in laws. ( Sorry did I say that out loud?)

    If you have a fenced in yard then I would do as you like in letting her out with the others for a short time. I would also coax them back into the run by tossing some treats inside when you are ready. Chickens are not as dumb as in laws and they can be trained. Make the evening treat something different and just for that time and purpose. For example small pieces of bread. Only at evening time use the bread and they will get used to it.


    I wish you the best,

    Rancher
     
  4. auto5man

    auto5man Chillin' With My Peeps

    219
    13
    103
    Jul 27, 2011
    Memphis
    I would say GO for it! Mine free range all day every day. I live in the middle of a large city and have a fenced in backyard. I love to watch them and interact with them in the yard. It's been interesting to see different behaviors as they've grown. My flock of six consists of three different ages, some being purchased when almost fully grown but not laying. These have gone from somewhat skittish to now they fly up on my lap for scratch and treats when I sit in the lawnchair. Since giving away our roosters (two of our 'hens' became roosters) a couple weeks ago, they seem to become more friendly every day. The only time I had a scare with free-ranging was a day the utilities reader came to read the meter, he left the gate open when coming in and on the way out accidentally scared one out of the backyard. I had a time getting Welly back in, sort of a gentle herding. But made easier by the strong flock instinct they have, they really don't like being away from where they feel most comfortable for long. My guess for your scenario, if you let her out close to roost time I don't think you would have trouble...the roost and flock instinct is so strong that she'd go right back in!
     
  5. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, I did it! I just let her out and stuck by her side the whole time. She explored close to the coop and looked into the sliding door windows of the house. She scratched in my veggie bed next to the coop and scored two worms for herself. When she was ready to go back in, she flew up onto the top of the nesting box and tried to get in through the window over it. At that point, I scooped her up and brought her around to the door of the run and put her back in. I think that she really enjoyed herself, scratching all over the place and wandering around to explore. I even got to pet her for the first time. How fun it was to watch and be there for her in this new world. She does not have a rooster to watch out for her, but she had me and I think she felt safe and at home.[​IMG] What a sweet bird.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by