How do I get chicks to freerange?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Summer Rose, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Summer Rose

    Summer Rose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2012
    My SF's are about ten weeks old, they don't come out of the Hen house unless I chase them out. Then they stay out for about an hour and they
    are right back inside. I want them to free range, does that mean I need to take their food and water out of the house. Do I do that now or are they
    too young. They are pretty big now. I don't want to starve them, and think I scare them when I walk them out. I picked them up a lot when they were
    little but now it is a real trip to catch them unless I close the door and they have no where to go. Again, don't want to frighten them doing that.
    Please help. I searched here but perhaps not long enough to find the answer. Thanks much....
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    How long have they been in this coop, and how long have they been allowed access to the great outdoors??? If it's a fairly new experience for them, it may take a few weeks, as chickens are...wait for it....CHICKEN! They don't do well with new things. And most SF are fairly meek, shy birds...not very bold or outgoing. Plus their age plays into it too...they're pretty young. If it's been two weeks or so, just give them time. If it's been more like a month, then there might be other issues...

    ETA: I'll also add - sit outside the pop door in a chair and toss bits of scratch or some other favorite treat close to the coop...do this several days straight, maybe a few times a day if time allows. Treats are always a good way to win chickens over to new things...
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
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  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    They are still pretty young and feel quite vulnerable since they don't have a mama to watch over them and keep them safe. Its a big, scary world out there when they are born with an instinct that tells them EVERYTHING wants to eat them. I wouldn't chase them out but let them explore on their own. They will gradually gain confidence and go further and further from the coop each time they do leave it.
     
  4. Summer Rose

    Summer Rose Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2012
    Hi, Thanks for the reply. I got them when they were six weeks old and yes they have been in the
    Hen house ever since. It is 9X13' and about 8'high. I have let them out since I got them but sat
    there to watch them most of the time. I have gone in and walked/herded them out cause they
    run like scared chickens (lol) when I do that. They go out for about an hour and come back in.
    Wondering if I should leave the food and water in the house all the time? If not I would have to
    hide it elsewhere because predators might come for the food outside, like Bears that come ever
    now and then. They found my pile of yard waste (tree branches and leaves and they often go there
    and hide fortunately they come back out cause I don't think I could get them from there.

    I also need to find out what birds besides Eagles try to snatch them, I hear crows all the time here.
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I have the feeder inside the coop, so that it is protected from weather, and I keep the waterer outside the coop because a) I don't care if it gets rained on, b) it isn't as likely to attract predators/vermin and c) if they spill it in the coop it makes a mess of the bedding.
     
  6. Summer Rose

    Summer Rose Out Of The Brooder

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    Your Coop is Great..good planning~
     
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Oh, I just now saw this question in your earlier post. Any birds of prey - eagles, hawks, owls, will take birds according to their size. I.e. a small hawk might only be a threat to a chick but a larger one might carry off a full grown LF bird.

    Crows are your friends!!! Crows don't like hawks and try to chase them away so having crows around is a good thing for your flock. I've never heard of a crow being a direct threat to a chicken as they tend to eat the same kind of food - peanuts and corn are the two things I usually hear of them eating.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    YEP!! Love my crows!! Now, DH was certainly cussing at them this year for continuously getting into his feed corn crop, but I'm thankful for them. You should watch them divebomb the red tailed hawks around here! When the crows start causing a ruckus, my birds dash in toward cover.
     
  9. Summer Rose

    Summer Rose Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all so much, I so appreciate when people help others I hope that I will soon be able to do that in return.
     

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