Does anyone have unfinished run, but let their chicks out? If so, how?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mithious, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. My flock, 15 BR's, 5 weeks old. Our run is not finished, but my guys and gals want to go out so bad....I feel horrible...they follow me to the door, every time I am out there doing chores...a "play pen" wouldn't work, in the event of an escapee or two, as I couldn't catch them. They run way faster than me, fly very high too, or would if they were outside...and no adult chickens to teach them. We are very rural and I am back by tree's, woods, and lots of brush and blackberry bushes too. Tons of predators, but I have only seen a hawk over head, during the day time, the others come out mostly at night.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might be able to let my chicks out, without a play pen,( they are very smart and great escape artists) and be able to get them back in the coop with the above named issues? I sooo need this run to be finished!!! Was hoping this week-end, but it aint gonna happen...

    I really hate the thought of going through another week of them being stuck in their coop. Been two weeks, and they are getting antsy to be out!

    Thank you!

    TOP KNOT Songster

    Mar 10, 2013
    If they have been in their coop for a couple of weeks they should put themselves up to roost in the coop at dusk. I let mine out after work and on weekends. They have a big covered run but LOVE to run the yard!! They go in in the evening and I shut the door. I got them as chicks and they had no adult chickens to teach them.
  3. How old were yours when you let them run the yard and did they stick close to you or go exploring at the age you let them free range. Also, are you near woods and brush, where they could hide or open fields?

    Thanks so much!!!
  4. Any one else? How did you start free ranging your youngsters, and what did they do...I am looking for details if possible. Like, did they stick together, how late they put themselves to bed, first time out...DID they put themselves to bed first time out?

    Did they stick with you or scatter around? How hard or easy was it to get them back in? Anything and everything you can tell me, so I can be prepared for this would be so very much appreciated!

    I picked each and every one of them up and held them up to the windows, and they just were fascinated...well, only one, my top pullet, wouldn't let me pick her up...but all of them run for the door when I's sooo sad [​IMG]

    I am trying to get over my fear of a predator attack or losing one in the brush or up a tree...we have sooo many places they could go and hide in or explore that I just can't get to....

    Thanks so much!!!
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    My first flock, years ago, I free ranged but I didn't let them out until they were full grown. We lived in a very rural area near a river with wooded areas nearby. The chickens roamed as a flock but they gradually increased their territory and would get quite a ways away from the coop. Needless to say it wasn't long before they started getting picked off by coyotes and at all hours of the day. One even was grabbed one afternoon when I was right there with them, working in the garden. Coyote slipped in unseen, grabbed and ran. Roaming dogs were a problem as well. They did come home and put themselves in the coop at night, that was the least of my worries. When I started having losses I penned them up. These days my chickens have access to a fenced pasture during the day. I use goat fencing and hot wire. It's not predator proof of course but it does the job of keeping them close to the house and their barn/coop and I haven't lost a single bird to a predator since those early chicken keeping days.
  6. WickeeChickee

    WickeeChickee Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Madisonville, LA
    I built a 4x4x2' pen with a hinged top out of scrap wood and hardware cloth and carried them to it in the morning and brought them back in in the evening. They loved it! They were using it from about 3 weeks to about 8 weeks. I put food/water in obviously and made sure they had some shelter/shade in there as well.
  7. Yeah, see that's my fear...I too live in a very rural area. Back when the kids were little was the last time I had chickens and we had a fox that set up house, near us one year, and she would take chickens right out from under my feet, middle of the day and even run my GSD in circles and be back for the next chicken before him....although I live in a different place now, I know there are many predators here, as I live at the top of a mountain in very northern New Hampshire, almost near the Canadian border...

    I have to wait for the guys, my landlord and the manager, they have the truck and tools, before I can finish the run, and it won't be till next week-end at the earliest...the frame isn't even done, so I can't put up any wire at all...I just feel sooo bad for my lot...they sooo want OUT...and I want them to have that freedom, but not at the cost of their lives...and since they will roost at dark, I am aware that predators are hunting at dusk...

    My heart says let them out for just a bit, my head says, keep them in till the run is done...they say, let us OUT...this is very hard!!!!

    Thank you for your detailed comments!!!!
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    I did almost the exact same thing with my most recent batch and it worked great. Kept them busy and entertained all day until the coop was ready for them to move into.
  9. That is the size of their brooder, exactly, and they now won't even fit in was my plan to knock the bottom out, it already has a hardware cloth top for it, but the just won't fit anymore! That is why I had to move them to their coop, 2 weeks ago. The guys had said they would get the run done by this week-end, but things came up....Thanks sooo much for the idea though, much appreciated!
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Well you might just have to harden your heart and keep the little boogers in their coop one more week! I know it's hard when they are obviously wanting out so badly. I know how excited mine are when they finally graduate to their big girl coop and run. Or if you have a feed store or Tractor Supply nearby you could consider some poultry netting that you can just make a temporary enclosure with. Super easy to do and completely moveable. You could let them out for some supervised play time each day maybe?

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