Beginning Free Ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lavistaparkchicks, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. lavistaparkchicks

    lavistaparkchicks New Egg

    Aug 20, 2011
    My chickens are about 12-14 weeks and I am about feeling ready to let them free range from their coop. I'm a little apprehensive about this because we have hawks and racoons around.

    I want to be comfortable letting them out, yet I want them to go back when I want them to. What do I need to do to move in this direction?
  2. georgialee

    georgialee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2009
    Knoxville, TN
    You aren't going to be able to get them in when you want them to unless you have a special call for treats. Normally birds that free range will come back to the coop at dusk as well as different times throughout the day to eat, etc.

    I would recommend letting them out for a couple of evenings before you attempt a full day. [​IMG]
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    georgialee is right. They are very difficult to herd. If you have to it can help to have 2 long sticks, one in each hand to extend your reach. Treats can help.

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  4. lavistaparkchicks

    lavistaparkchicks New Egg

    Aug 20, 2011
    Thanks. I like the idea letting them out about an 1 hour before dusk. I can watch them and slowly get comfortable with them being out. Should I worry about the hawks? Or let them fend for themselves?
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I've been letting my 8 9-week old pullets out of their run for about 30 - 60 minutes in the evening before closing them up for the night. The first night I lured them out of the run with oatmeal and "treat, treat, treat" and then sat down on the grass and let them eat out of my hand. When I was ready for them to go back, I went into the run and called them again. They went back really easily. I've done this several times now, moving farther away from the run and calling them too me. They are always easy to get back in, although sometimes I have to pick up a straggler or two, since I've closed the run door to keep the rest in. The stragglers are usually running up and down the fence trying to figure out how to join their flock-mates. Not too smart I guess.
  6. lavistaparkchicks

    lavistaparkchicks New Egg

    Aug 20, 2011
    Thanks. I will those ideas a try. Thanks for everyone's help. I will let you know how it goes.
  7. two early

    two early Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    My hens come a'running when ever they hear the treat can clanging. I always feed them treats from an old can filled with oats, sunflower seeds and flax seeds. I jangle it and where ever it is, they hurry over. (The polish girls actually fly to get there first.) This works for getting them in and out of the coop and putting them in at night (if I want to lock them up before the sun sets). If you do this consistently, it may work for you also. Good luck
  8. newbiechickenfan

    newbiechickenfan Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 24, 2011
    Yes to the treat idea. Mine are 14 weeks and they come running when they see me coming with their favorite treats. They happen to love squash and watermelon right now.
  9. crazy4spurs

    crazy4spurs Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 5, 2011
    San Antonio, Texas
    I am also apprehensive about letting mine I appreciate this thread and all the advice!! Thanks guys... [​IMG]
  10. urban-chick-mom

    urban-chick-mom Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 27, 2011
    Gig Harbor, WA
    I let my 3 chickens out around noon until dusk. Around 1 hour before dusk they start hanging around the coop area. As soon as they see or hear me open the patio door they come running towards me because they know I have scratch and fruit/vege treats for them. That is how I get them to go in the coop every night. Works like a charm!

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