Free ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lfoose, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. lfoose

    lfoose Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Medina, OH
    I have had my birds for about two weeks now and have kept them in the coop the whole time. Partly so they could get used to me and so I could get used to them. Also, my neighbor two doors down has a dog that likes to come over once in a while.

    If I clip a wing and let them outside to freerange, will they come back in the coop on their own or do I have to chase them?
  2. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    Hi, that is how long I kept mine in also , before letting them freerange.......some of mine came running to me when it came time to coop up at can also start training them to come by giving them treats at coop time.they should soon hear or see you with treats and come part of my day is seeing them run at full speed to me at night...........hilarious..........
  3. newchickowner

    newchickowner Songster

    Aug 19, 2007
    I'm new at the chicken thing, but mine learned to come when I came out the door cause they thought if they came and begged me, I would treat them, and they're right!!!

    About the wing clipping thing, I don't know what the right thing to do is, but mine free range and when I got them (as adults, I saved them) they had their wings cut, but were not free ranging birds. I personally feel that they should have full function of their flight in order to better escape attack should that occur. Sometimes flying into a tree to avoid a predetor could/would save their lives. Therefore I'm allowing their flight feathers grow back in.

    Just my opinion. Hope it helps.[​IMG]

    Edited because I'm not sure I explained well enough, they were not free ranging birds when I got them, but like you I kept them in their coop for roughly two weeks to get used to me, and then let them out in the morning one day. I hung outside all day to watch them and make sure they stayed where I wanted them to, they did, and as the sun started to set, they came to the door of the coop, groomed theirselves and eventually went in for the night. That's how it's been ever since. I think you'll find that they will come in every night.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  4. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    I don't see the need to clip their wings if you are letting them free range. If you didn't want them to fly out of a run, then I could see you wanting to clip their wings. Mine have wandered into the neighbors yards, but no one cares and they always come home at beginning of dusk.
  5. Yes, I wouldnt clip the wings unless they are white leghorns who fly quite well!!!
    Please watch the dog!!!!
    They will find their way back to the pen, just have the food dish near the door, they should come back to it throughout the day. then go in to sleep.
  6. ChickieDee

    ChickieDee Songster

    Apr 21, 2007
    North Central PA
    Mine just automatically went to the barn at dusk. If yours don't, treats will help until they learn. They will go home at night. They know where it's safe for them to sleep. I agree, do not clip the wings. It will help them if they need to escape from something. Watch that dog!!! It sounds like trouble. I used to free range but lost 5 of my original 6. Now I have them in a half acre pen with clipped wings (they were fling over fence). So far I'm still vulnerable to the hawks (because pen is so big) but that's all I'm battling right now. Enjoy your new friends!
  7. lfoose

    lfoose Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Medina, OH
    The only reason I thought about clipping their wings was because the Rooster is pretty good at staying away from me and I am nervous about him flying into a tree or on top of the chicken coop.

    I can picture myself running around the chasing my rooster....[​IMG]
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    You should rarely chase chickens. They usually win and you end up looking foolish.

    You outsmart them by using food and other tricks to lure them and direct their behavior. Remember, whose the boss in the chicken yard?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2007
  9. debashan

    debashan Songster

    Aug 11, 2007
    Oquawka, IL
    I let mine out of their run 2hrs. before dark. They start to return to the vicinity of their coop at dusk and are marching inside, on their own, by dark. It never fails to amaze me how the routine never changes. I should mention that I keep an eye on them while they are loose, if I can't be there they don't come out that day. They have a 15 x 5 cyclone run connected to their coop, that is their free-range on days we won't be home in the evening.
  10. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Unless they are young or banties, you don't need to clip a wing, as heavy breeds can't really fly well enough to get anywhere.
    If you are worried about them coming back to their coop, let them out the first several times right before dusk. They won't go too far from home at that hour, and will return of their own volition as it starts to get dark. Some scratch feed can always be used to encourage any reluctant ones.
    You can train them by throwing scratch and calling "Here chickie chickie"; after a few days of this they will learn to come running when they hear the call!

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