1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Free ranging for first time

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Egiroux, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Egiroux

    Egiroux In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    Durham, ME
    I've had my little backyard flock for going on a week now and everyone seems happy and has been very well behaved (3 birds). I want to let them free range in the yard a bit. Any pointers on introducing them to this for the first time? I'll probably only let them out for an hour. When it's time to go back in what's the best way to get them back into the run without getting them too stressed out? I have handled the birds and they're fine once caught, but they don't willingly let me pick them up. Is it just a herding technique to try to push them back in the general direction of the gate?

  2. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Just let them out and when you are ready to put them back in throw some treats such as scratch grain into the gate. This always works for me. Good luck.
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    A lot of folks start the free ranging trials by letting their birds out about an hour before dusk, so it's easy to get them back i to the pen and coop. They naturally wanna go in at night.

    Each day, they let them out earlier.... Once they have shown they will put themselves back into the coop/run.
  4. Egiroux

    Egiroux In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    Durham, ME
    good advice. thank you both.
  5. Dutchess

    Dutchess Songster

    Quote:x2 works everytime!
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Yep, that work like a charm. I let mine out about an hour before I figured it was bed time. Then called them and tossed out some scratch. They ate the snack and went to bed.[​IMG]
  7. Egiroux

    Egiroux In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    Durham, ME
    Same here. Too cold for me to be out there with them too long. They came truckin to the can of cracked corn when it was time.

  8. Yonaton

    Yonaton Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    Are your birds roosting in the coop? If they've been roosting for at least a week, then do like gryeyes said and let them out about an hour before dusk sets in and they'll go back to roost on their own. I wouldn't let them out though until I know they've been roosting for at least a week in the coop (I mean up on a roost and staying there all night sleeping).
  9. The first time I let my girls out, they didn't venture very far, so it was a bit less exciting than I thought it would be!

    I agree with the advice to do it a bit before dusk.

    I also found that when I lift up my rake (a long but small one that I use to clean the run) and herd them along with it (I don't touch them with it, just wave it), they will go in any direction the rake goes. I feel like a shepherd and I'm sure it looks insane to the neighbors, but it works.

    My chicks take turns with the dog using the backyard, so I have to get them in the coop often during the day when I want to let the dog out. It takes literally 20 seconds to put them in their coop using the rake!
  10. tuckertori

    tuckertori In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2011
    My girls also love grated cheese and left over pasta. I cut spaghetti noodles into smaller pieces for them. I drop a few pieces, walk a bit and make a trail to the coop. It's a bit like Hansel and Grettel. I don't over do it because I want them to eat their balanced food. When I call, "girlie-girl," they come running. It is a nice habit for when I know I am going to be gone into the evening and want them back into the coop early in the day. Now, at 9 months, I can easily get them in for the night when I need to.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by