Free-Range Chickens Always Hiding!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PitbullandChix, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. PitbullandChix

    PitbullandChix Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 6, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    Hey everyone!

    So my boyfriend and I are first time chicken parents and we love them way more than we ever expected! We have 6 hens...2 RIR, 2 BR, 1 BO and 1 Leghorn. We got them when they were a week old and they are now 12.5 weeks old. They have been in their outdoor coop/run since they were 5 weeks old. My question I have is related to free-ranging. My girls have been free-ranging pretty consistently for about 7-9 hours a day for about a week now. Before that, I was a nervous wreck leaving them out, without me supervising them, so they got about 2 hours at a time. Anyway! Back on track. We have a half acre of land consisting of about 20% woods and my girls are ALWAYS hiding in the woods. I understand going in there to forage and what not but I'd like to see them take advantage of the rest of our land. It seems like they are too scared to be out in the open. Whenever they "pass through" open areas they run for their lives! They have never been attacked by a predator or anything like that. I guess I'm just trying to understand this behavior. Will they get more acquainted and comfortable over time? Would they feel more secure with a rooster (we aren't really interested in having one though)? Any insight would be great. Thanks!

    I've been reading forums on here since before I got my chicks but I just made my account today so I hope I'm doing this right and posting in the right area!
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chicks are usually very conservative about keeping to cover during their early forays out free ranging. It's instinct for survival and they are also learning how to find their way around and not get lost.

    My chicks are four weeks old today, and they have been venturing out of their run a little distance at a time. They have been testing their courage for a week now, and today they went a good twenty feet from the safety of the run.

    However, even adult chickens come back under cover from time to time to relieve the stress of always needing to be on the lookout for predators. You can encourage your chickens to use the open areas by rigging up islands of cover, simple lean-tos or little, chicken-size ramadas that they can duck under in case they see a hawk or other unfriendly bird in the sky.
    1 person likes this.

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