Free range and roosting questions

Dirty Blonde

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 9, 2010
18
2
22
Marshfield, WI
I am building a new (although temporary) chicken coop this weekend in an existing shed. Because of the layout of our driveway, I will not be able to have an enclosed run until my new horse barn goes up this fall and my coop moves there.

I would like to let my chickens go outside during the day when they are old enough. We do have coyotes in the area (we've heard them howling at night) so I want my chickens to come in at night. Here comes my stupid questions: Will they come in on their own? Is this something I have to teach them to do or do they know where "home" is?

Thanks in advance.
 

jrudolph305

Songster
10 Years
Dec 1, 2009
123
1
109
Meadows of Dan, Va
They will come in by themselves at night but letting them free range all day could be a problem if there are chicken hawks, dogs and coyotes around. Even when we are at home in the house we are not be able to hear them and would not get out in time to save them if something were attacking. Just a couple thoughts.
 

cochinfan

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
87
0
39
If you can hear coyotes at night they will also be around during the day. I lost multiple chickens to coyotes when I allowed them to free range during the day. Coyotes are to chickens like 14 yo boys are to buffets. They will only stop eating your chickens when they are safely confined or all eaten. At least that has been my experience.
 

swift4me

Songster
9 Years
Apr 17, 2010
178
6
111
in the Pyrenees
I'm a newby too, but after a couple days in the coop, they loved coming back, including mid-day trips for food and laying eggs.

As for the coyotes, you could definitely have daytime problems with them though, especially if they den near your place.

Pete
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
254
421
SW Arkansas
Lock them up in their new location for about a week, more if necessary and once they consider their coop home that's where they'll come to roost.
My free range flock visits the area of their coop several times a day and of course the hens come back up to lay their eggs in the nestboxes. At night they all put themselves to bed in the coop.
If you have a male dog or even a hubby will work in place of the dog, have them pee around the area as often as possible. I won't comment on the coyote issue further because I'm very superstitious.
 
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DoubleTake

Songster
10 Years
Mar 18, 2009
147
1
111
Idaho
I am going on my second year of free ranging my chickens... I did coop them for two months to let them know where home was and then let them loose... They range and come back to eat, drink and lay eggs and go in at night... I have never had coyote problems and we can hear them howling also.. But I do have a male golden retriever that is totally positive that his calling in life is to pee on everything in sight.. I do believe that is what keeps the coyotes away... We do have hawks that fly over but so far none have attacked.. I keep my babies in a small pen beside the coop and don't release them to free range until they are the same size as the adult chickens... Have only lost four chickens (Young babies) whom didn't go in the coop at night and froze to death...
 

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