Free range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Steve P, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Steve P

    Steve P Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2015
    Breckenridge MI
    I'm planing on building my coop and run once our snow is gone. I plan on keeping them in a covered run but my question is this. If I was to let them out on occasion will they know enough to come back to the coop at night or will I need to round them up. I work mostly days and would prefer to keep them in them in run until I get home. Just wondering if it's a good idea to do both free range and keep in run. Thanks
     
  2. Odelia

    Odelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2014
    Idaho
    They will learn to go to the coop at night. When they are young pullets they don't always do so. They will roost on the back of lawn chairs, or in low tree branches. You just have to put them back in a few times and they usually get the idea. I have a run for my girls, but I do let them out to free range when I can. On days when I know I won't be home to lock the coop before dark I prefer to keep them in. I don't want to come home and find I was too late and a predator got my flock. I also don't let them out during bad storms. It has worked well for me.
     
  3. saltandpepper2

    saltandpepper2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My flock of 15 has a coop and a run, but I free range them all day, every day, and only once with a very young pullet did I ever have to put them back into the coop at dusk. If you keep them in the run for at least 2 weeks, and for at least a week they steadily go into the coop at night, then I would say that it's safe to let them free range, and expect them to go back in, you will just have to close the gate after dark, because some birds like to hang around outside pretty late before turning in.
     
  4. Steve P

    Steve P Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2015
    Breckenridge MI

    Thanks
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    If you keep them in the run and coop long enough to for them to have established that the coop is home and where they roost, they will troop right up at bed time whether they're free ranging or not. I love watching my cockerel stand on the tree stump keeping a watchful eye out each night as the girls go up. And when the last one is up, he hops down and follows. It's adorable.
     
  6. Odelia

    Odelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2014
    Idaho
    I still have one pullet who is 9 months old who does not put herself inside the coop at night. Every evening she is up on top of the coop and I have to put her inside before shutting the door. She is a smaller lighter breed that flies quite well. It isn't a math equation and there isn't one right answer. Chickens like people have their own personalities and will not all behave the same. You should let them out for the first time on a day when you have time to round them up if they don't do as they should. You will want to check on them at dusk. Don't wait until after it is already dark because they are very hard to find in the dark. I find that they want to be at home. Several of mine could fly over the fence, but they don't unless chased. My first set of pullets were the worst about not going back to the coop. Now that there are older girls to set the example I rarely have an issue anymore. Except for my one naughty girl. Thankfully she no longer tries to roost in the trees. My big fat orpingtons have never considered trying to roost in the trees. They don't really like having to get themselves up onto the roosts in the coop. I do agree it is best to keep them in for a week or two before letting them out. That way they have time to come to look at the coop as their home. My girls love their time free-ranging. I know that it does make them more vulnerable to predators but I haven't lost one yet.
     
  7. Steve P

    Steve P Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 23, 2015
    Breckenridge MI

    Both my wife and I leave for work when it's still dark out. I leave at 530 am and she's by 630 so on the days that we work I am home at 2 so they would only be going out of the run when someone was home. Don't want to open run while it is still dark outside
     

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