Free ranging?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HeatherTheMommy, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. HeatherTheMommy

    HeatherTheMommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2015
    Felton DE
    Ok so my poor girls run is just pure dirt. They do pick through it and find bugs but i would love to let them out to peck in the grass. Only when im outside of course. My fear is getting them back in the run. How do i train them to all go back in when i go back inside? I want to put sand in the run but don't have the money for it right now
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are a couple of different ways you could go about this. They will almost certainly return to the coop when it is time to go to bed. I say almost certainly instead of absolutely because it’s possible they can get stuck behind a fence and not realize they need to go through the gate. Those birdbrains don’t always understand the concept of “gate” very well. I wish I had taken video where they are desperately trying to get to the coop but won’t walk five feet along the fence to get to the same gate they have been going in and out of all day. You may have to help them a little bit. Anyway, if you let them out about a half hour before bedtime and stay with them, they should put themselves to bed.

    Chickens can be trained to come to you when you call. That involves food. Get a special container that treats rattle in. Feed them treats from that container while rattling it and calling “Here Chick, Chick” or whatever you consider appropriate. It won’ take long for them to come running to you whenever you rattle that container, let alone call them. Just be consistent and always feed them the treats when you rattle the container or call.

    Those poor girls scratching and pecking at that dirt, taking dirt baths, are much better off than many other chickens. While they will enjoy the green stuff and other opportunities, I seriously doubt they are having a poor life.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Fall is a perfect time to add some interest to your dirt run.
    I have started this recently with some dried grass clippings and free wood chips my buddy got from a tree service.
    Gives them something to scratch around in and a place for bugs to live.
    Will add dried leaves and small twigs... whatever dried organic matter I can find, keeping the mix a balance in size, shape and material that won't form a wet slimy mess.
  4. HeatherTheMommy

    HeatherTheMommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2015
    Felton DE
    How long do i let them out for? Im scared they will all go reallt far and i wont be able to get them all back in when i have to go back in the house. I have 2 small children (4yrs old and 8 months old) so i cant be outside all day with the birds.

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