Getting free range pullets back in the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vtchick, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. vtchick

    vtchick Hatching

    Jun 30, 2008
    My pullets are about 10 weeks. I want to start letting them out during the day. Our mobile electric fence is broken so I guess they'll be free range but..... how far will they wander from the coop?

    We have a lot of land/woods but i'm hoping they won't saunter away too far.

    Also, how do i get them back inthe coop at dusk? Any ideas?

  2. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    The best advice I can give you is to keep them in the coop and/or coop area using temporary fencing for a couple of days until they put 2 and 2 together about the purpose of the coop...

    ...and then you're in like flynn, you can remove the temp fence, and they'll always return there to sleep... [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2008
  3. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    They will usually head back to the coop on thier own. If you want to be sure of this then start giving them scratch in the coop at bedtime for the next week and just continue doing that when they free range. Once they associate you with scratch in the evenings they will all come running as soon as you head out to the coop.
  4. moodusnewchick

    moodusnewchick Songster

    Feb 15, 2008
    mine saunter pretty far. I don't know about those tips that say chickens won't range beyond eyesight of their coop!! Mine also return and put themselves to bed between 7-9pm. I imagine you can entice them with a treat you know they really like and maybe a Pavlov-like they associate sound=treat=home.

    good luck!
  5. vtchick

    vtchick Hatching

    Jun 30, 2008
    great ideas. I love the idea of the temp fence and even the Pavlov bell kind of thing.....


    i appreciate the ideas.
  6. LilBizzy

    LilBizzy Chicken Storyteller

    May 20, 2008
    I have some 10 weekers also. They are in the shed with a very small completely enclosed run attached. This was to be thier temporary home, but they grew fast and the coop isnt ready yet.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, we have had to let them free-range for the past few weeks. They mostly stay close to the shed, because they also have the deck to play under. But, my little 6 pack of hoodlums have wandered all over our acre yard, including out front. They have explored the edges of the neighbors yards.
    They come back to the shed as soon as it starts to get a little dark out, and one goes in the shed, and starts calling the others till everyones in.
    When I first started letting them out, I tried to "train" them to come to me. I would go out every half hour or so, taking with me a plastic bowl with a few cheerios or small non-messy treats, and shake the bowl, and tap on the side.
    Then I'd throw a few treats down to get them running, while saying " Here Chicky".
    So now, I can either shake a bowl, or tap on it, or call and they will all come running. Unless, of course, they are too busy doing Important Chicken things..
  7. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    If the flock is confined to their home for at least 2 weeks (and that time frame is key) then they will know where home is and will return at dusk.

    It's best to start with a few hours in the evening, so the flock gets the whole idea of freedom and also close to home.

    Usually a flock won't go to far, they like to keep one eye on home....maybe 100yds, most days even less.

  8. banter

    banter Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    Training with food works great. I would suggest several times a day at first. Mine like whole wheat bread and pasta!
  9. Celeste

    Celeste In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    I give mine treats once or twice a day to get them running to me when I call but at night they usually put themselves to bed around dusk. Once Zeus (our rooster) goes in they all follow shortly after.
  10. Charlene1234

    Charlene1234 In the Brooder

    May 11, 2008
    We used a portable wire dog kennel/fence and kept them in it during the day (with a tarp over the top for protection from hawks). They learned how to scratch around in the grass. I tried putting a bowl of water in with them until they started pooping in it and made it undrinkable, so then I put the dish right outside the fence and they just had to stick their head out to drink. This solved the problem with the dirty water. I put them in this every morning with good weather for at least a couple weeks and put them away every night. They really became friendly during this time! Then when we moved them to their new coop, I did the same thing with them for a little while until I knew they were familiar with their new area. A couple weeks max. Now they range all over our place, front and back yard, barn, shop area, even out in the horse pasture a little bit... they're everywhere now and they'll put themselves to bed every evening with or without me around. Of course I go out and lock them up safe and sound each evening too. They are happy chicks!

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