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free ranged for the first time

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wayneo, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. wayneo

    wayneo Hatching

    Sep 4, 2008
    newaygo michigan
    OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today I decided to let my 11 week old hens and roo's out to run the yard..... well it lasted for about half hour and my nerves got the best of me and I put them back in. I was so nevous thinking they would run off but they just stayed in yard and enjoyed their freedom so maybe tomarrow I will do it again. Maybe I'm just a little wimp or something.[​IMG]
  2. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    Chickens are pretty....well....chicken. [​IMG] they don't tend to wander too much until they get familiar with an area. It's probably a good thing to introduce them slowly to the free range thing. Also, you can get comfortable with it and you can see if there are any dangers that may not seem apparent at first...

    Good luck! My chickens love having run of the place...

    Oh yeah, and [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Welcome to BYC! Yup, most of us were very nervous the first few times (ok, the first many, many, many times) free ranging our chick/ens.

    I agree that doing it slowly, like you are, is a good idea. I started free ranging mine in the evening. I would let them out between and hour and two hours before sundown so that they would go back to their coop to roost by themselves. I did that for a week and then started adding more time to their free time.

    Chickens love to free range and really get to be chickens. I'm glad you are letting them have this wonderful (albeit scary and potentially dangerous) lifestyle. They will be much happier for it.
  4. ashyannehand

    ashyannehand Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Wade, Mississippi

    Sounds like youa re doing the right thing to me. I let my girls out a little at a time until they were familar with the place. Now every afternoon I let them out for a couple of hours and then tuck them in.

    Also - I have noticed that late in the afternoon they stick pretty close to the coop. You may want to wait until about an hour before dark and let them out. I bet they stick pretty close to home. I bet when it gets dark they will put themselves to bed and all you will need to do it "tuck them in" and shut the door to the coop.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  5. DDRanch

    DDRanch Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    Naw, I can relate. You are not a wimp. The first few times I let mine free-range, I was a nervous wreck. I stood over them and followed them around to make sure they were safe and wouldn't get lost. Ha.....

    I too did it slowly....as I look back it was more for me, but that's the way it was. Get into the habit of calling them back into the pen after they have been out for a little while, give them their favorite treats and they will very quickly come to your call.

    This is particularily handy when you want them in from free range, for whatever reason. I let my girls free range when I am home and they come running now when I call them so they are very easy to put into their pen if I have to go somewhere. Course they always get treats.

    My girls love to be out and about, they have a routine and depending on the time of day, I can tell you exactly where they are. Although I have over 6 acres, they do not wander out of sight from their coop/pen, 1/2 acre at best. I have placed some small shelters (dog houses actually) around the field so my girls can duck out of the way from hawks and they sit in these little shelters when it rains. I love watching them from the house.


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