Free Ranging


10 Years
May 4, 2009
Carroll County, Va
If you free range your flock, how long did you keep your new birds penned up in their coop before turning them out to free range? Just curious how different people handled this. Thanks!
I let mine out around 9:00 and they automatically climb into their coop every night between 8:30 and 9:00.
Thanks slf_fry. What I really meant was when you get a new bird, how many days do you keep them closed in the coop to get the idea of "home" before you start letting them out each day? I probably worded that badly!
A couple weeks. We have an intermediate area in the chicken house, the new ( already quarantined ) birds go. They can see, and interact with the others, but can't get to each other. After a couple weeks, they have the routine down fine.

5 days in the run/coop. Then I let them out and they came right back before sundown and put themselves to bed. They were about 4 weeks old when I let them range.

ETA: The first couple of days you let them out to free range, let them out late afternoon so they just have a couple of hours before dusk. This gets them into the "swing" of things.

Good luck!
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My chickens were older by the time we finally had their coop completed - 5+ months old. Before that, they lived on our screened porch.
I originally planned on keeping them in the coop for a week. However, the first time I let them out of the coop come dusk, they all lined up at the screened door to the porch again.

It took another week, two weeks total, before they took the hint about the coop being home.
For another month after that I still had my pullet that was already laying trying to get on the screened porch each day to lay her egg in her favorite chair.
I did 1 week with the first 4 hens. They were here about 2 months and I added 6 more hens and a rooster.That was about 2 months ago.I put them in a quickly constructed run attached to the coop for about 2 days. After that i took down the run and let them totally free range 7am to dusk with the others and they all did fine...except for one cornish that decided within the last week to start roosting in the hay shed!!
We put our flock of 44 into their new coop when they were about 9 weeks old, I think. We left them inside for a week. (Mostly because the run was not done.) Then we let them go in and out of the run for 2 weeks. After that we let them free range without a problem. They always come home to roost!
Mine moved to the chicken house at six weeks. They stayed inside for two weeks after that, and were very good about returning before dark until something took four of my original sixteen. Now I am coaxing them in at dusk with scratch because if I don't they will roost in the trees instead.

Let's see with mine they got out to the coop at 14 weeks I think. I kept them locked up one week. Then the first day I let them out I was out there with them. It was on a weekend so it was not a problem. I did feed them outside in the morning and evening they got fed inside. Now they only get a night feeding.

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