free range part time?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by first time farmer, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. first time farmer

    first time farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    582
    0
    149
    Dec 31, 2008
    New Hampshire
    So this summer I am thinking about letting my flock free range once spring comes. I have a few questions though. 1 will they go back onto the coop at night? 2 will they lay in the coop? and 3 can i free range them part time
    thanks
     
  2. Master S.M.C

    Master S.M.C Chillin' With My Peeps

    752
    0
    142
    Jan 23, 2009
    Maryland
    1).They will seek safety as it gets dark/late
    2).They will leave the coop when they are ready
    3).Yes you can as if you have enough confinement space
     
  3. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    11,744
    17
    321
    Apr 6, 2007
    Iceland
    Mine range every night when I get home. They automatically return to
    the coop as soon as it starts getting dark.
     
  4. Chiiiiiiiiiickens!

    Chiiiiiiiiiickens! Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    22
    Dec 26, 2008
    Southern New York
    Yes, to all of the above. Mine free range all day, except when the snow keeps them cooped-up! They HATE the snow. They also HATE to be cooped up, so January is a little tense, even though they have plenty of coop space.
     
  5. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Start them in the afternoon to free-range and work at longer hours if everything works for you.
     
  6. first time farmer

    first time farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    582
    0
    149
    Dec 31, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Ok so I think I am going to do it. My only concern is I have 4 hens right now and by the time i free range them i should have between 6-8 (still havent decided) is that to small a flock to free range.
     
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    18
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    My hens are often in and out during the day. They are always given a treat when they go back in the coop. If they are out and put back in 4 times in a day - they get 4 treats.

    The only problems I have with this approach is if they are busy dust bathing - they may not all want to leave the luxury of the soft dirt. Usually tho', I'm stampeded anytime they think that I've got some tasty tidbit - even when I don't. This may lead to stumbling over the silly saps!

    They will happily go back to confinement at anytime. Having just a small flock will make it easier. I just make a point of never "tricking" them to get them inside - always a treat. After you have the older ones trained, the youngsters should also be fairly easy to move back inside.

    Steve
     
  8. first time farmer

    first time farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    582
    0
    149
    Dec 31, 2008
    New Hampshire
    digitS' :

    My hens are often in and out during the day. They are always given a treat when they go back in the coop. If they are out and put back in 4 times in a day - they get 4 treats.

    The only problems I have with this approach is if they are busy dust bathing - they may not all want to leave the luxury of the soft dirt. Usually tho', I'm stampeded anytime they think that I've got some tasty tidbit - even when I don't. This may lead to stumbling over the silly saps!

    They will happily go back to confinement at anytime. Having just a small flock will make it easier. I just make a point of never "tricking" them to get them inside - always a treat. After you have the older ones trained, the youngsters should also be fairly easy to move back inside.

    Steve

    What do you use for a treat?​
     
  9. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    5,644
    375
    303
    Jan 14, 2008
    To answer your questions in order-maybe, maybe & sure.
     
  10. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

    1,079
    15
    171
    Jul 14, 2008
    Stamping Ground, KY
    Mine free range from 10:00am until 2:00pm when I need to get ready to go to work. We have a large run for the rest of their day with a comfy coop. They can't wait to get out of the run in the morning. I refill their feeders and waters at 2:00. They know when I come out with the paper plates it's goody time. They surge back into the run. Once in awhile we'll have a hold out. I lock her out of the run and she has to watch the others gobble while she peeks through the wire. Then she's begging to be let back in. LOL

    Colby in KY


    49 GLW, 11 EEs
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by