They will come back on their own. It's thier instict. If you can, build a run on your coop. Let your chickens out in their run once they are fully feathered, that way they can learn about their surroundings and everything in it. When they are about 10 weeks old you can let them out (just a mature age) however they will not be fully grown until at LEAST 16 weeks. I let mine out 1-4 hours before dark because it is good to be somewhere near your birds when they are free ranging because if you notice a predator you can scare it off or save a bird that might get itself into some crazy sitution (it can happen). And yes, they will come home on their own
it is their instinct to roost inside their coop, they MAY need a little coaxing the first time but other than that, they are fine. Just make sure you close the door at night (to the run or wherever they enter the coop).
I was so nervous when I first let mine out! I let them out about 4PM.. so they have about 4 hours of free ranging. Lately they've been flying out of their 10 foot high run fence earlier than that though. Grr. Anyway, yes, they do come back on their own. A couple times my son shut the door on their run so they couldn't get back to the coop, and I had a problem for a couple days with a rogue chicken trying roost in a tree. But, I haven't had any problems for a couple weeks now. I was worried, also, about them laying eggs in the yard. But when I put them in last night, I automatically checked the nesting boxes (not expecting anything), and one of them went back in at some point to lay an egg. Watch out when you let them out.. soon they think they own the place. They're always on the deck leaving behind lots of lil presents.
tks to all. I do plan to have an enclosed pen as well but was wondering about letting them out of that even. Also have dogs, one big boy and 5 small guys and a cat (indoors). I hope the big guy will learn from us that the chickens are NOT dinner! He does chase the deer out. Thank I like. They eat everything I plant.
Mine were putting themselves to bed in the coop for about 3 months, but for the past month they have been wanting to roost on my deck at night. I have to out and gather them all up every night and put them in the coop.
However, this didn't start until I purchased an adult(2yr old) chicken. That chicken didn't want anything to do with a coop, and the others followed her lead.