Free ranging

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Arthur, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Arthur

    Arthur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 hens,all 16wks old. I have yet to let them free range but would like to do so on days or hours that I am home. Someone told me i missed the boat,that its too late to start free ranging them. Said i should have F/R them from the beginning. Is this true ? If not, what is the best way to do this ? I don't want any of my girls wandering off and getting lost r being stuck out all night. We do have foxes and racoons. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never heard anything like that.
    You can start by letting them out late afternoon if you are concerned. They will go back to the coop to sleep naturally.
     
  3. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will go back into the coop like clockwork. I get a kick out of mine. During the day they venture far away- and then as late afternoon approaches, they get closer and closer to the coop. The only time I have had a chicken left out of the coop at night, was when the automatic door malfunctioned. A head count before bed will keep you worry free!
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I didn't let mine out of the run to freerange until they were about 12 weeks. When you first open the door to let them out, they probably won't venture far at all from their "safe zone." Any time there was a strange noise or presence, mine would dash back to the run. Then they'll become more brave and venture out further within a few weeks... They'll do fine [​IMG]
     
  5. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I recently got an 8-month-old EE pullet that came from a flock that lived in a large run/pen and coop thing. It was really large, but still an enclosure. She had never free ranged before coming here. Of course, we don't have like a GIGANTIC yard, but it's about 20 times the size of what she's used to. She took to it like a duck to water. She hasn't had any issues relating to free ranging or going in and out of the coop. She goes in when the sun goes down, right along with everybody else. They have always put themselves in at sunset since the first day I let them free range.
     
  6. Arthur

    Arthur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow,, thats great to hear. My girls will get their first taste this week. Will let y'all know how it turned out. Thank you
     
  7. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I think who ever told you that is the one who missed the boat....[​IMG]

    Maybe too late for a production meat bird that will be processed before 16 weeks, but it is never to late for layers!

    Mine, once out of the brooder and in the coop I give them a few days to get used to it then give them a few hours a day in the big world outside. After maybe a week or so of controlled free range then I just let them out. Having more experienced chickens around to help teach them the ropes helps.. Also feeding them in the run when you want them to come back in helps teach them to go in at night.

    ON
     
  8. Arthur

    Arthur Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, opened the door and after about five minutes all five were outside pecking,scratching and running around. Boy was I nervous. I have a small section of woods behind me and was worried they would wander off and have to spend the night out there with folks who would like to eat them. They really seemed to enjoy themselves and I was happy to be able to let them "be chickens". But I couldn't wait to get them back in their run. They eventually went home,I don't know if it was insinctively or all the boss I was offering. I am considering their first venture a success and will give it another go over the weekend,and maybe be a little more hands off. We'll see.
    It was like watching your kid cross the street for the first time by themselves. Sheesh !!!
     
  9. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats! Glad they had fun and you didn't have a heart attack!
     
  10. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Congrats on your first "crossing of the yard" so to speak. I had a few close calls with stray dogs, cats, and hawks so I only let them out when I am home and out and about. They get depressed when they stay in and can't "be Chickens".

    Just put them in for the night and their state of mental health was quite good after several hours out today!
     

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