First time free range question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ashley6388, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    I've kept my new flock in their coop for 2 weeks now. They've gotten used to me and will let me pet them, though they're a bit skittish. I couple have let me hold them for about 2 seconds lol.
    I'm about to let them out and free range for the first time ever. How will I gather them up back in the coop when it's time to go back?
    I'm worried they're going to do like my dog, lol. My dog will be great inside but if I let him outside off leash he goes stupid and runs from me for up to an hour. It's impossible to catch him.

    Advice would be great lol.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,965
    3,131
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They’ll automatically return to the coop at night to sleep so they won’t just wander off and never return. But during the day all bets are off. You might want to try it a little before dark.

    One thing you can do is train them to come to a food bucket. Get a container and carry treats to them in it. Shake it and give a specific call, maybe “here chick chick”, when you feed them treats from that container. It should not take long for them to come running whenever you shake that container and yell “here chick chick”.
     
  3. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    I'll try that. Thanks.
     
  4. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

    3,047
    315
    321
    Apr 20, 2007
    The treat bucket is a good idea. Always count your chickens to make sure they've all come inside. Sometimes I will have that one chicken that wants to stay out longer. You might have to round her up and run her inside. They should do fine.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,560
    2,499
    411
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Are these juveniles? If so, they will naturally feel like sticking close to the coop until they get used to their surroundings. Even adults won't wander out of sight of their coop. Chickens know they're prey, and will stick close to cover for the most part.

    Do train them with a can of scratch, though. That way you can relax knowing you can lure them back into the coop any time. They catch on to the sound of that can rattle mighty fast.
     
  6. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    700
    121
    156
    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    When first start to let mine out I'd wait until about 30 minutes before they would normally go to roost. They stick pretty close to the coop as they know it's almost bedtime. After a few days I let them out a couple hours before roost time. A few days of them showing they'll go back to the coop when it's bedtime and I feel confident that they can free range.

    Teaching them to come when called is good. I'm a snowbird so my girls used to spend the winter next door with the neighbor. When I got home for the summer I cleaned the coop. Saw the neighbor had mine and his girls all out free ranging. I called "here, chicky, chicky" as I'd done since they were babies. All 6 of my girls came running across the field to come home. They still remembered after 6 months of living next door.
     
  7. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    579
    43
    158
    Dec 11, 2011
    Oregon
    I too recommend getting them trained with treats before releasing, but they will come home.

    I will say this: if birds of prey are an issue then I would not release them until they are older or only into an area that is not large enough for a hawk to land. I've lost a lot of birds in the pasture when they were snack sized!
     
  8. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    They're about a year old.
    I'm going to try to train them to treats and sound. [​IMG]
     
  9. ashley6388

    ashley6388 Out Of The Brooder

    29
    3
    24
    Jan 21, 2016
    Georgia
    There may be enough room to land, but there's lots of trees. Plus we're surrounded by woods.
     
  10. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    579
    43
    158
    Dec 11, 2011
    Oregon
    It's really about longer corridors of area, like runways. If it is broken up you are probably fine.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by