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how long do I keep the hens penned up?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ozark hen, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Hi everyone, I am new here and new to raising poultry. I decided to start with laying hens. I am getting four tonight and one roo. My question: how long do I keep them penned up before allowing them to free range? Love your site, and I am learning a lot.[​IMG]
     
  2. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Wisconsin
    ozark hen, It's best to keep them in their new location for a minimum of 2 weeks till they know it's home. Start by leaving them out with the last couple hours before sundown. They won't go far and will get use to going back into their new home. Then adjust by giving them more time out.

    bigzio
     
  3. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Does that work with all chickens. I have read that some, including OEGB's like to perch up high at night and might get in a tree. How could I get them back? I have had mine for several weeks but I have not been able to convince myself that they will come back if they fly away? I would die if something happened to them. I would like for them to be able to free range (well, inside the goat pen mostly) but I am afraid once over the fence, something will get them or scare them off and they wont come back. I don't want to clip their wings in case something does get after them. I am hatching some chicks in my bator so eventually I will have to get use to the idea, I dont have room in the coop for them all to live full time. I am going to build a larger coop for them at night, but they will be out during the day. I am so scared they will fly away. I have OEGB's right now and I am hatching silkies, salmon faverolles and oegb's. Thanks.

    Marie
     
  4. Vermontchicken

    Vermontchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2007
    Okay to calm your nerves some as long as they have been on once place several weeks they know by now its home even if something scares them while there out of course they will want to run to the Comfort of there home to feel safe there going to wonder some all chickens do but i assure you they know where home is and will go back.
     
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    A couple of weeks should get it into their heads that where the food and water and roosts are is home...
    Sometimes if you have an established flock the new ones will follow the lead of the old ones. That's how Obelisk learned that the rabbit hutch was home, from Jerry and Penny learned that the chair was fine for a roost, from Obelisk.
     
  6. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    Thanks guys, I feel better knowing that. I think I may try to let them out some this weekend. I mean, the coop has an open bottom, it is more like a chicken tractor, and we move it around for them. But it is enclosed. It is 5' tall and 4' wide and 5' long. So they have room. I have a roost and a nesting area, but I have to reconfigure that since getting better info here on where they should be located. I going to have to keep my OEGB's seperated from my silkies and salmon faverolles so they don't mix. How do you do that. Do you keep the roos in a tractor away from the hens when they are out? Any ideas?

    Marie
     
  7. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    thanks everyone! I really do appreciate all the advice I can get. I have two guineas in the same pen. I kept them in for two weeks and now I can go out and call and they will answer and come back to the pen. So I am thinking the chickens might follow them back?? I will wait the two weeks just to be sure. Lots of very good advice here:D
     
  8. Vermontchicken

    Vermontchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2007
    HI there i dont think you have to worrie to much they may be different types of birds and when there out they may go there different ways but they both know where home is with the food and water and will join together as one flock and will follow one another enjoy!
     
  9. marie_martin

    marie_martin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    Grenada, MS
    But should I keep the roos seperate, if for instance I have a silkie roo and an OEGB roo and I don't want them to cross breed. Can I keep the roos in a tractor seperated and let the hens out during the day? How do you manage that? To keep them from cross breeding?

    Thanks.

    Marie
     
  10. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Quote:Yes, either do that or only let one group out at a time. It's good to have the roo out with his girls because while they are picking and scratching, a good roo will have his eyes and ears peeled for predators. He will signal his girls if there is something fishy and lead them to safety.
    You want to keep the roos apart regardless of cross breeding. They will probably fight if kept together.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2007

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