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How long to lock in new home before free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by karenc, May 22, 2010.

  1. karenc

    karenc Hatching

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    I just moved my 3 month old hens in the coop with my older hens. Since they are new to the coop, how long do I need to lock them in the coop and run before allowing them to free range? Does it take awhile for them to learn their "new home" and head back there at night?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

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    Like almost everything else chicken it varies based on their personalities, but I'd be happy with one week. They should learn where home is by then.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I'm going to agree with Ridge and take it one step further. One week. When you do let them out for the first time do so in the late evening, just an hour or two before dusk. If they don't demonstrate that they know to go back in the coop at bedtime, lock em back up for a few more days.
     
  4. laturcotte1

    laturcotte1 Songster

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    I kept mine in for a week. When I feed my chickens I always shake a container of bird seed and call "chicken, chicken". The first time I let them out I made sure to stay with them. I would drop a few pieces of their favorate foods by my feet and shake the container, worms, pieces of apple whatever. I'd let them stay out awhile and do their thing. if they wandered too far I'd go through the ritual and they would come running. I'd make sure to always drop their food when they came. When it was time to be closed in it just took a call and a shake and they would come from everywhere. See one thing for sure is they don't want someone else eating what they should be eating; they hate to share! Food reward is a great thing.
     
  5. karenc

    karenc Hatching

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    May 16, 2010
    very helpful info thanks so much. I'll start letting them out next weekend and train them to come when I call. My other hens do that when I shake the hen scratch bucket. Thanks again,
     

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