Getting flock and coop


In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 15, 2009
Southern Maryland
Ok, so I am getting a mixed flock of hens and a coop from a guy north of us. I am wondering if the rule that you leave the chickens closed up in the coop for three days applies here? What are everyone's suggestions for acclimatizing the flock to our yard?

I don't want to feed commercial chicken feed, I would rather free range, but we have a red shouldered hawk that has it's territory RIGHT OVER OUR HOUSE (I have seen it many times and we have only lived here 6 months). And we have coyotes in our back area as we butt up against a nature preserve. I heard THEM last night and two weeks ago. Is it reasonable for me to think I can free range without going through chickens like I'm putting them out for dinner for the local fauna?

Any other suggestions, thoughts, comments, posers?

Thanks to you all in advance,

BTW, I am in South County RI and if there are any other chickeners around, shoot me an email/ping!
I absolutely would keep them closed in a run/coop for a few days so they know where home is.
As far as free ranging goes, if you have free ranging chickens, you have the potential for hawk issues. A good rooster can alert the flock to potential hawks. I free range my birds all day every day unless the weather is just too bad.
Just as an aside, I always keep food in my coop for my birds.
Keep them in the coop AND run for several days so the property becomes familiar to them...out of habit should they return to the proper roost for the night, though they need time to figure it out:barnie
I agree with OPs re keeping them confined for a few days after the move. They have to settle down a bit and also learn where 'home' is to roost. As far as feed goes..... even free ranging I would keep chicken feed/layer feed out to meet their needs. Even organic chicken feed is available in may places if you are concerned about that aspect. I live backing into a stretch of conservancy and we have owls, hawks, racoons, possums and lots of coyotes......My backyard has a 5 ft chainlink fence. The girls run loose in the yard but only when I am at home and able to check on them. Does not mean a predator could not get to them but they are quite large, love hanging out in the shrubs and under the junipers for dustbaths and I try to spend a lot of time out with them. Also the dogs make a ruckus even if they are in the house if a coyote gets close. We have seen coyotes here in the middle of the day walking up to a neighbors back porch, so I don't think anytime of day is really safe from predators. The girls have a safely enclosed and roofed run attached to the coop. They can go outside even if I am not home and I feel they are adequately protected from predators. Just my experience/opinion, good luck with your new flock!!!

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