Free-Ranging, getting them started, help

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by secuono, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Ok, I get home 2-4pm and now it's Winter which means bitter cold wind and it's just no fun being outdoors. The birds are all indoors when I get home and rest of the day. The 2 Silkies and 3 oldest chicks come and go all the time.

    I wanted to let them free until nightfall or whenever they naturally come in. But this is just not going to work til spring! They are hating the cold, I'm hating it and then the run is a little odd, so it's not easy to let them out where I want them to go. The human door leads right to a hill, tree and fence. I want them to follow their run out and around the other way to where it's an open, lush field of grass...

    Should I just wait til warm weather? How has anyone else let them explore on such crappy days, if at all?

    The gray doors are to the work room turned coop. Door without window is the human door. You can just see the run, it is narrow from the chicken door out past the mess, then it opens up to a big area. The mess is not part of the run, that blur you see on the right is my Dobie running, about to go down the slope. The back of the barn faces a slope down into the field, where all the nice grass is.
  2. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    Lead them to the area you want with chicken treats. Feed them treats exclusively in that area for a while, and they will figure it out. This is what I have done in a similar circumstance. It is funny though. I have recently changed my fencing and the chickens often try to get back into the coop through the old entrance rather than the entrance they just exited. Got to love those critters.
  3. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Well, the wind basically pushed the chicks back in the coop. The biggest chicks kept trying, but the wind got on their nerves and they gave up, lol.
    My Japs are up on their roosts by 3pm is the soonest I've found them up there...It's getting dark now, maybe by 5:30 it'll be dark. Is it weird of them to go up so soon?

    I'll try leading them with treats on a less windy day. Hopefully they follow, but who knows, lol.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  4. swimmer

    swimmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2010
    I open the door and if they go out, they go out. Mine don't mind the cold, but with a foot of snow on the ground, they tend to stay close to the run. Also, be on the lookout for hawks this time of year.
  5. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Yep, I'll be watching the trees/fence and sky. That's why I mentioned I won't be happy in 4 layers and still freezing. I'll be watching my chicks and for hawks, like a hawk, lol.
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My chickens don't like winds on a warm day, so when it's COLD and windy, they really don't like it. Honestly, I'd probably push back attempts of freeranging until spring and just confine them to the coop/run. Like yours, mine are pretty much bunked down (on days like this) for the evening super early anyhow just to conserve heat. I was happy to be able to lure mine out of the coop (with nut/seed mixture) for a little while when I got home this afternoon. Within 10 minutes they were back in the coop (and I left their run door open to see if they wanted to come out and about... [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  7. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Lol, I had a similar thing happen. I tossed scratch out and only the white Silkie came out, then after a few minutes of the wind, she ran right back in.

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