Birds that won't go to bed / How long till the new home is home?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Delmar, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    My first batch of chicks is 4 weeks old. I moved them from the brooder a week ago to a small tractor that seemed big enough at the time but they grew like weeds this week! I swear one morning that they were bigger when I got off work, than they were when I left in the morning. So I got a bigger tractor built today. I want to start letting them out to free range after a while, but I am a bit worried about catching them if I let them out before they think of the new tractor as home. How long should it take for them to consider the new home, home?


    update on post #5
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  2. lambchicks

    lambchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a fence around ours. So the girls could go out and scratch around, then they would go in the house at night. Just a few days, then we were able to let them free range and they came back on their own. Also I trained them to come when I called them, using treats. But mine have always went back to the house on their own. They are pretty smart and know where it is safe.
     
  3. comptonsgonecountry

    comptonsgonecountry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know some on here lock them up in the coop or tractor for a couple days before letting them free range. It seems like this method works wonderfully for many BYC members. But I didn't give it a try due to two weeks worth of heat waves that swept through VA.

    Instead, this is what worked for me... when locking my flock up in the coop, I physically placed them in the coop around dusk the first night. The second and third night I called them over to the coop and threw bread in there. By the fourth night they were returning to the coop and roosting by dusk on there own. The only thing I have to do now is lock them up around 8:30 and do a head count.

    A little trick I learned while training my chicks to return to their coop was to wait until dusk to catch them. They get in to a deep state of meditation around that time. Also, training them to come when you call is helpful. But you still may have a few stubborn stragglers who refuse to go in at first.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  4. MakNugget

    MakNugget Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I moved my first flock to the coop at about 12 weeks last summer, and locked them up for a whole week. There is plenty of room for them to move about so YMMV. After that they were released to a 8x12 run.

    I didn't free range them until late winter (Feb) but by then they knew where the door was.

    I plan on doing the same with my second flock but will let them limited range with poultry net to allow some time to meet the existing flock.
     
  5. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    update:

    So the birds are 6 weeks old now and I have been letting them out to free range a couple hours before dark for four of the last five days. I don't quite have them trained to follow treats in yet and they have not been going in when it gets dark. Instead they have been roosting on top of the other chicken tractor (where my adult birds live) when it gets dark.

    The good news is that once they have roosted up there for the night, I am able to simply walk over and pick them up one at a time, and take them back to their own home. I had no idea that it would be so easy to pick them up as soon as they have settled down for the night. It is a little bit of a pain to have to put them to bed one at a time, but it will work until I get them trained to follow the bread crumbs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  6. tlagnhoj

    tlagnhoj Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:You wouldn't happen to be on INGO too, would you?
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I would leave the youngsters in whatever tractor you want them in for 2 or 3 days then let them out. My experience has been after they have been in a place for a few days they will adjust to it as being their place and should go in easier and may go in by themselves. Also around the time you want them to go in give them some treats in the tractor and they will get used to it and go in for their nightly treats and then after doing that for a little while cut back on the treats until finally you won't need to treat them and they should put themselves in for the night. Just my opinion. Good luck... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:That was my strategy I left them in for a week and a half before I turned them out, but it turns out they are stubborn little buggers!
    Also around the time you want them to go in give them some treats in the tractor and they will get used to it and go in for their nightly treats and then after doing that for a little while cut back on the treats until finally you won't need to treat them and they should put themselves in for the night. Just my opinion. Good luck... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I do know that following the treats works. My older birds would just about follow me into a burning building for small pieces of white bread. I can let them out of the tractor any time of day, and put them away when ever I want. I know the younger ones will get there, they are, in fact, close but I still can't keep them together as a group long enough to get them all in the tractor.​
     
  9. lindalue

    lindalue Out Of The Brooder

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    we just moved ours to the coop a week ago..the first few nights I had to catch them to put them in for the night. the next few days we keep them in the coop.now they go in and out all day long and when dusk come they are in for the night all I do is shut the door..
     
  10. SoFluffy

    SoFluffy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    confine them to their new home for 5-7 days then let them free range
     

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