Free Range

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by weebles&wobblesmom, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. weebles&wobblesmom

    weebles&wobblesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if this is the right spot for this post but since they are still babies (7 wks). My question is, how hard is it to get chicks back in the pen when you first give them free range? May seem like a dumb question, but I have 36 (chicks & ducklings) and my husband doesn't want to help. He thinks they're fine justt being in the pen, so I would be the 1 who has to gather them all up.
    Hoping maybe there is a good secert....[​IMG]. The only 2 I'm NOT worried about are my cornish. They can't run very well so I can catch them....[​IMG].

    They do have a BIG pen, but all the grass is gone and with all the rain, plus the pool for the ducks, it's always wet. I was hoping to let them get out for a while during the day when I'm home. They seem happy, but I feel bad for them.

    Anyway, any advice would be great.
     
  2. Taylorhens

    Taylorhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they are used to being in the pen, they will put themselves "to bed" at dusk. Just leave the door open for them, then go down and (do a head count) then close it for the night.

    the few times I had to round mine up and get them in early because I wasn't going to be home later to close the door for the night...they weren't too bad to chase in. But I only have 10.

    I have read some people train them to come (or follow) with treats, which would make it easier if you do that.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If they are used to the coop being home, they should return there to sleep when it starts getting dark. Mine always have. If you want them back in the coop and run earlier, well good luck. Some people have them trained to come to a treat call, maybe rattling a bucket or calling out a certain phrase. You can try that if you wish, but with 36, ......
     
  4. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This can be difficult, especially if you are in a hurry to go somewhere. [​IMG] They will always go in at bedtime, so late afternoon/evening might be a good time to let them out if you are around. Mine are out during the day and when I have had to put them away, I usually throw some scratch in the coop and they race in after it. Of course, there are usually a few exceptions who don't want to play, but these I round up by carrying a wide grass rake and slowly herding them toward the coop. I try not to put them away during the day once they are out, but it can be done. [​IMG] Also, mine will all run in if something scares them, so I sometimes use that opportunity to close the door. [​IMG]
     
  5. weebles&wobblesmom

    weebles&wobblesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you everyone. 1 of my other problems is my dogs. I have 2 labs and a lab/dane mix, so I am afraid to have the chicks out when the dogs have to potty. Our oldest lab is the only 1 who has tried anything. He snaps at them through the fence. Our youngest lab got pecked through the fence. That was kinda funny. The look on his face was priceless...[​IMG].

    I have heard that they usually put themselves away at dark. I might try it by starting off with maybe having them out for a hour before dark at first. They don't really have a treat but they act like they're starving, even though they get fed PLENTY, so they may follow me when they see the food can.

    My husband is afraid they'll destroy the yard like they did the pen, but I told him if they have more room, they wont make mud.
    He's waiting for our garden to get taller and then he's gonna fence off all around it for them.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Amyh

    Amyh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will put themselves to bed at dark. However, sometimes they are not very bright and will find a roost elsewhere. The good part about that is that they can't see very well when the light starts to fade and you can catch them very easily. Just grab them on whatever roost they have chosen and put them into the coop.

    They may get it the first night and put themselves in, but it may take several nights of you showing them that they need to sleep in the coop before they get it.

    Good luck!
     
  7. daveintexas

    daveintexas New Egg

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    i don't know if this is good etiquette or not and i apologize if improper but hopefully weebles&wobblesmom can benefit too. Along the lines of letting them out, everyone posted great advice, is there a certain age before they should be allowed out? We also have a lab, she wouldn't hurt a fly but she sure loves to chase so we're probably in for some excitement at some point. Typically, how far do they travel from their coop?
     
  8. weebles&wobblesmom

    weebles&wobblesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My in laws have chickens and they don't go very far. I ask questions on here because there are more people on here so if I get pretty much the same advice from different people, then I am more sure that it works.

    Everyone on here is awesome with answering questions. I was actually kinda wondering about the age myself, but then I was thinking maybe if they're still fairly young, I can train them easier. (Can't teach an old chicken new tricks.....LOL)

    I think my dane/lab mix would be alright with them, he seems to be the only 1 who dont seem to care they're around. When they were still in my house, he came and smelled their box and walked away. If the other dogs were to go after them though, I think he would too.

    I'm thinking of maybe just putting up another fence and only letting them in there once in awhile. that way maybe it will not turn into a mud pit and the grass will stay. Right now, they do not have a coop, they have 2 dogloos, so they are out ALL the time. (The area is VERY well prtected from preditors. Made very sure of that). Plus, like I mentioned, the pool for the ducks doesn't help, but I hate to take that away from them. Might have to seperate the ducks and chickens. I don't know.

    Thanks again for all the advice. I just need to get up enough nerve to try letting them out. I'm a nervous mom...[​IMG]
     
  9. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] You are always welcome to join in on the conversation and ask questions related to the topic! They do not travel far from the coop and will stay pretty much together as a group. I have 17 that range like this. They have not damaged the lawn, but they have dug in my garden beds (goodbye strawberry plants) but they basically trying to dust bathe in that newly tilled dirt. [​IMG] We have a dog, but she hasn't been interested in them much at all. The chickens chase the cat as well as any robins off of the yard. [​IMG] Enjoy your chickens!
     
  10. sport14692

    sport14692 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Dads would come home to their pen every evening right before dark to get settled in for the night
     

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