Free ranging for the first time.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by melwaddell, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. melwaddell

    melwaddell New Egg

    Jan 4, 2014
    My flock is almost a year old and have a very large coop and run. I want to start freeranging the flock this spring inside our goat pen (where the coop is located). It is over an acre and protected by heavy hog fencing and and electric fence. Is there anything I need to do the first few times I let them out of the run?
  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    If they go into the coop on their own at dusk now then the only thing you have to remember is to make sure they have water outside. I suggest getting a metal or rubber pan for their outside water as the one gallon plastic with red base water containers don't hold up too well in the sun (no uv protection and thin plastic). I have a pan in the middle of their free range space so they don't have to go all the way back to the coop to get a drink. If you ever start missing eggs then they found a spot they like to lay better...have fun on the easter egg hunt...
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Just open the gate and watch the show. It might be fun.

    I don’t know what yours will do. When I first open the pop door to let the young chicks out of the coop into the run, sometimes about half of them are on the ground within 15 minutes. Sometimes it takes three days for the first one to hop out of the pop door. Eventually they make it.

    Yours are not young but I still don’t know if they will immediately rush out to the goat pen or if they will stand at the gate afraid to cross into the great unknown. Eventually one will and the rest will follow.

    When it starts to get dark they will want to go back to the coop. They might make it. But if your gate is not in a line to the coop door, some might forget all about the gate, even if they have used it several times during the day. They get trapped behind the fence and walk it desperately, wanting to get back to the coop. But they can’t get through the fence! They just don’t realize they can walk to the gate and get through. It’s pretty funny to watch when it happens.

    So be out there just before it gets dark in case you need to move them toward the gate. Other than that, you don’t really have to do anything.
    1 person likes this.
  4. melwaddell

    melwaddell New Egg

    Jan 4, 2014
    Thanks for all the great advice!
  5. MyPetNugget

    MyPetNugget Enjoying the cold!!!

    Sometimes if your chickens are too scared to come out of the pop door, just throw some scratch around for them. They'll like digging for it too. Also, if they are not going into the coop, put a light in there of some sort until all of them find their way in. Is your run predator proof from hawks and things? If not just keep a close eye on them.

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