food and water placement and free ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kimberly4403, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know its mixed oppinions but i thought a strategic placing of food and water would get my youngsters bacl onto the coop at night after free ranging..
    Currently i have a water in run and coop.. I put out 2 bowls of food into the run each morning plus kitchen scraps in the evening i usually place more food out in the run..
    ive recently started free ranging my youngsters at around 5ish it gets dark around 6.15pm but first time i did this they were starting to panic and look around for some place to roosr i had to coax them in witg corn to lock them up by this time it was almost completely dark.. I usually collect up bowls from run each evening and wash them i add all leftover grain into 1 bowl and put inside coop at night incase i dont get up early enough to let them out... Should i change my afternoon feed from the run and just put it straight in the coop to encourage them to come in after free ranging.. Would it make a difference?
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I guess there is no harm in trying your idea. Using a light in the coop at dusk can help lure them back. You could use a torch, for example. Simply turn it off when you lock them up for the night. After a while, they will habitually return to the coop and there will be no need for a light source in the coop.
     
  3. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our coop/run setup is moveable we usully move it to fresh grass weekly do u think this will upset them in returning at night? We dont move it far always within a few meters of its last position because ita heavy

    I tried food in coop and light on at 6.10pm when i went out they were in there run but not in the coop yet so i just locked them in run and waited until tgey went up before turning light off and locking up
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I haven't used a tractor set up personally, but I would doubt that a few metres would confuse them.

    At least you got them in the run - thats a good start. As long as they are protected there, job done, I hope.
     
  5. HeyHouse

    HeyHouse Just Hatched

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    Chickens are a lot smarter than you're giving them credit for [​IMG]. Moving the tractor a little shouldn't hurt anything, and I don't think water placement will trick them either.

    If you're feeding your chickens a big breakfast and they're scavenging free-range all day, they're not going to be hungry enough at night. I give kitchen scraps in the morning out in the field because I wouldn't want the scraps stinking up my coop. I ONLY give feed if there are no kitchen scraps. By bed time they're quite hungry and trying to get me into the coop instead of the other way around.

    As for getting them in on time, the most important thing is to build a routine that they can learn. I always put them in the coop at the same time, and I clap my hands as I'm walking to the coop. They all hear me and come running. If I'm a few minutes late, they're usually waiting for me inside the coop.

    Next, I feed them INSIDE the coop, and I give them a nice big meal. I use a metal chicken trough to keep the mess down.

    Any new chickens or chickens who have fallen out of routine get locked in the coop all day. That way, they learn where home is, and after 2-3 days they're fine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I like to have water in a predictable location. Feeding stations are placed near cover and they can be moved about. When free-ranged all day feed is not placed in coop to encourage getting out there. I move tractor units incrementally so that foot prints of sequential locations are in contact. Moving too far will cause confusion that delays going to roost and possibly abandoning the movable coop and run. Another complication can be structures like trees and buildings near the coop and run. A big part of getting back to roost is what is remembered to be close to roost like the structure. In an open field the chickens are much more adaptive to moving roost site but even then I like successive locations to be adjacent. All conserve orientation relative to compass.

    Make certain interior of coop not too dark when birds going back to roost. I have played the game of getting birds to roost early and suffered complications of insect hatches and imbalanced diet causing birds to stay out till dark. You want to avoid that.
     
  7. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 3 are currently only out an hour or so before dark... So ur saying i should feed only the kitchen scraps in the morning or a small breakfast if there isnt any scraps and do a big dinner in the coop at night to encourage them home especially after free ranging? Id need to get some bowls that they cant tip over and soil the pine shavings
     
  8. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only have a small section of grassed area in my backyard only 5 different spots for the coop to be moved too the rest of the yard is garden or concrete so the furtherest distance the coop would move is 10-15m back to the first spot.. We rotate through the areas weekly so the grass has a good month to recover.

    I dont understand your last section about insect hatches and imbalanced diet can you explain please
     
  9. HeyHouse

    HeyHouse Just Hatched

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    That's right! I'd recommend using pellets (as opposed to mash) to reduce the mess in the coop. If the pellets get knocked into your bedding the chickens will usually pick them up.

    I'll warn you right away that regular bowls are going to get pooped in. I prefer using the feeding troughs with the bar across the middle. (Just google "chicken feeding trough")
     
  10. Kimberly4403

    Kimberly4403 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed fermented feed :/
     

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