Free ranging when I'm home

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Reinbeau, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    My chicks don't have a run yet, materials are purchased but hubby just hasn't had the time (he's working unbelievable hours, hard on him, but we need the money) and I feel so bad for my eight week old chickies, they want to go out so bad.....I'd like to let them out, but I'm afraid they'll scatter and won't come back, or something lurking in the woods will get them. How can I let them out and then get them back into their coop? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Just so you know, they do have a nice 10x10' coop, insulated, with lots of room for 15, so it's not like they're really confined, they just need to get outdoors and be chickens!
     
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
    We had this problem also. I went and got two rolls of chicken wire and some cheap posts (the kind they use for wire fencing) and shoved them into the ground, placed the chicken wire over them...running the post through alternating holes in the wire.... you can skip 3 or 4 at a time..... and made a big corral around the front of the coop where the door was. I would go out and open the door, do my chores and let them all out to play and forage [​IMG] I'd sit and watch them and they never really were much interested in leaving the fenced area. When the roos got older and started jumping out, they didn;t go far and were very easy to catch and put back in the coop [​IMG]

    If you look behind the chooks you can see one of the posts.... I wish I had a pic of the whole set-up to show you.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  3. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    At just one month my chickies were free ranging, and put them selves away at night. They stayed pretty close to their coop first couple weeks, but, they always came back. Try waiting till later in the day, so they don't have time to wander far, and once it gets dark they will either go back into coop, or they will find a place to sleep, and you can just pick them up, place them at coop's door, they will go in, and probably then learn to go into there every dusk! Good luck

    Make sure they have stuff to hide under, mostly they like to stay under stuff. Utility trailers, tables, barn, whatever you have around.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  4. Sylvie

    Sylvie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Ohio
    I am moving my 4 week chicks around the yard with some fencing that I just have in a circle without stakes. Nothing on top, but I stay with them the whole time, weeding or cleaning veggies from the garden. I move it to where I'd like to work each day. So far they are pretty fascinated with each new location and don't fly over the 3' fence LOL!
    I look forward to the day when the run is finished but more to the day they can free range absolutely loose in my yard following me around.
     
  5. Hoover67

    Hoover67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2008
    Huntsville
    I am in the same situation. I let mine free range all day in the tennis court/ now garden. Today they did get out of the tennis court so I put them back in their coop. They are out in the tennis court now. When they get a little bigger they will not be able to fit through the hole. I will be putting hardwire cloth over it any. Mine are 3.5 weeks old and they love to run around together. It is so cute. I do have lots of shrubs, trees and large flowers that they hide under.
     
  6. farm_mom

    farm_mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2008
    MI
    Treats usually help. Ours get garden/kitchen scraps, so I make sure to say "here chick chick" everytime I bring them something. Then, when I start ranging, I keep an eye on them the first few times, and put them away with a "here chick chick." They all come running. Once they've learned their way in and out their door, they'll put themselves away! Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
  7. karrie

    karrie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2008
    Mine free range twice a day, but with my supervision. I live in the city & have the hens illegally. We also have wild/stray cats & chicken hawks, so I watch them & listen for any problems. When they see a cat, they make a certain cackle, so I run to look.

    Oh, how they love being out of the pen! I don't think we have a single bug left out there, but they sure enjoy scratching the ground, digging in leaf piles, & searching!
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Mine just naturally look for shelter toward dusk, Reinbeau. Just leave the coop door open...some folks put on a light for them until they all get in. Haven't you hear that chickens always come home to roost? [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Heather J

    Heather J Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2008
    Last year I made a 6x12x3 run for my birds because we had massive troubles getting our fence up (dh was sick and we have way more rocks than dirt in that part of the yard--OK, is almost the whole yard). I just made a simple enclosure and they stayed in it for quite a while before they got big enough that they could jump out. This year I dragged it back into my main enclosure for my new brood of chicks, and they can get in and out while the adults have more trouble. It gives them a safe place to get away. They also free range with my flock in the afternoon and evening (they're 7 weeks now) and they don't go more than ten feet from the run at this point. There's plenty to see close to home, and they come back at night no problem.
     
  10. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    I live in the city and have a fenced yard, which mine have so far stayed in. (knock on wood) I only let them out when I'm around, and they stick pretty close to the coop. One thing you might want to try when first starting out is to rotate the chickens out in the yard, keeping some in the coop. They tend to want to stick close together, and if some are in the coop, they may stay nearby.
     

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