Going from freerange to coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sue E., Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Sue E.

    Sue E. In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    I have two Rhode Island Reds that, until now, have been 100% free range. I'm getting ready to put up a coop for them. I'm just wondering how they might react to going from free range to coop after such a long time. (They're still under a year old but both have started laying.)

    I also want them to spend nights in the coop. Will there be a "period of adjustment" before they get used to staying in the coop at night? Will I have to go collect them from their current self-made nests and carry them to the coop? I'm expecting to have to do this a few times, but I'm wondering how long this might last? Any tips?

    I will continue to let them free range for a short time each day.

    I'm just wondering what to expect.

  2. Welshies

    Welshies Crowing

    May 8, 2016
    Alberta, Canada
    If they have been free ranged their whole life, you'll want to make sure they have at least 8 square feet of space per bird or more in the coop, so they can adjust and also so you have room for more birds. If you feed them, bring their food and water inside the coop for a couple weeks. In most situations folks would lock up their birds for 2 to 3 weeks inside the coop, but since they've free ranged their whole lives I don't want to suggest that.
  3. Soon2BChixMom

    Soon2BChixMom Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens

    Jan 8, 2017
    I got my chickens from a friend who was totally free rangong them - like sleeping in trees at night. They went from that to a prefab coop. The coop had an attached run so, they were locked up in that set up for the first week w/o freedom.
    I wanted them to sleep in the coop so that I could close them up at night. I went out the first night and they were on the roost in the run. So, I placed them each inside the coop and closed the pop door. The second night the same thing happened. By, the 3rd night, they had placed themselves in the coop. I figure that they decided it was better than that crazy lady doing it. It was funny to see one of them pop their heads out just as I approached the coop -"Here comes that crazy lady!"
    They have the minimum space in the coop and did just fine. Now, I have them trained to go into the attached run when I need them to.
    There will probably be a roost time rumble, but other than that I doubt there will be any issues. Chickens seem to learn fast.
    Oh and my chickens were older than yours over a year to over 2 years old and they did just fine.
    Do they have a run?
    You could lock them in the coop (advice given to me in the beginning) for a week with their food and water. Then, they should learn where to go when it is time to roost.
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Do you have a run attached to the coop? That can be a lifesaver when you have to lock them up. You don't want to lock them in a tiny coop for a few weeks without one. When I'm trying to "reset" hens from one place to another, I lock them in the coop/run for a few weeks. That will help them to know where home is, and hopefully get them to start laying eggs in the nest box. (A fake egg or golf balls will help them figure that out, too.)
    aart, Soon2BChixMom and ChickNanny13 like this.
  5. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    They'll have adjusting to do but it will be ok. Yes, you'll probably need to catch them & keep them cooped up for a few weeks. If you have an attached run for them, even better as they're confined yet not cooped up.

    It's been recommended 4sq ft per chicken in the coop & 10 sq ft per in the run ... A lot less squabbling & issues. Also figure in Chicken Math, bigger is always better :celebrate
    Soon2BChixMom likes this.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    The more space the better. Keep them confined to the coop and run for a couple of weeks and then you can let them out to free range again and they will look to the coop and run as home..
    Best of Luck
  7. Sue E.

    Sue E. In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2017
    Central Texas
    Thanks to you all for your replies.

    I got a pretty big coop for only two chickens - the biggest one I could afford. I hate the idea of forcing them to be in there for a week or so, but I guess that's the best thing to do. They won't understand that it's "for their own good"!

    Thanks again.

    Edit: I plan to use only one of the inside doors so there will be only one ramp.

    Attached Files:

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