How much time should chickens spend outdoors?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by maggiegigs, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. maggiegigs

    maggiegigs Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 31, 2010
    What times of day do chickens like to be outdoors and then go back into their coops?
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Chickens like to be out all the time during the day. Mine free range all day and go back to the coop right before dark or during bad weather they will go back into their covered run. It isn't good to keep them in the coop all the time unless you have a lot of room for them. They can become bored and start pecking each other or feather picking. The minimum square footage in the coop is 4sq feet per bird. If they are going to be kept in the coop most of the time you would need a lot more than that to prevent them from developing the issues I've mentioned already.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    all daylight hours chickens should be outside. I think a lot of respiratory diseases get started by too much time in a coop, it is too dusty in there.

    My coop is totally enclosed by the run, in the summer, I leave the pop up door open, and they go out as sunrise, and back in shortly before dark. In the winter, I shut the door, just to keep it a bit warmer, then I open it at sunrise (much later in the day than in the summer ;-) and shut it at dark.

    Mine are only in the coop to lay eggs and to roost at night. mk
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Mine go out in the morning when I get to it--right now they're still locked up at 9:30 because I'm messing around on the computer and haven't finished my coffee--and then go in at sundown. If the weather is bad--either rain or snow--I might not let them out at all since they don't care to go and I don't especially want to go to the coop twice a day to open and close it. They adjust. But being outside is good for them not only for the bugs, etc. they get but it gives them a chance to get sunshine and Vitamin D as well as dust bath and get away from each other a bit. Of course there is always the chance they'll get nailed by some predator or pick up diseases but the trade off is worth it.
  5. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    Chickens wake up in the morning and then return to bed just before sunset here. I've also noted that some get up quite early maybe, 5:00 in the morning.
    My neighbors are let out at 7:30 and are lock up at about 18:00.
  6. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2009
    Mine are out from dawn to dusk, I let them out in the morning and they go back to their coops by themselves at night.

  7. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:Me too. Except my chickens are out already. [​IMG]
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    My chickens are outside most of the day if the weather is good and they are free ranging. If the weather is bad or they're confined to the run, they go back to the coop more often. If the weather is really bad, they spend most of the day inside.

    In nice weather, they free range all day, nap under the patio chairs or a favorite shrub and mainly go back to the coop to lay eggs. They can forage for food and I have water out in the yard for them.

    If they are confined to the run because of hawks, they also go back indoors to eat. In cold weather, they have to go in the coop to drink, as that's the only unfrozen weather. They also go in to get warmed up and nap in the coop. They don't like blowing snow, either. Or a hard driving rain. The worse it gets, the more they stand in the doorway and look outside or look out the windows. They're like me! [​IMG]

    When the highs for the day are below zero, then sometimes we keep their door closed during the day. Like if the high, not the low, is -10. That doesn't happen that often, though. At that point, they really don't want to be outside, anyway. Plus it helps conserve heat for the coming night, when it will be even colder.

    I think a lot of it depends on what your weather is like and what your coop is like. If a coop is spacious, has good air quality and light during the day, it's more of a daytime living space. Especially in bad weather.

    Edited to add, I just looked at some of your other posts. It looks like you've only had your pullets for about 3 weeks and they are choosing to be in their coop a lot. I wouldn't worry about that. Most younger chickens feel safer in their coop and spend a lot of time in it at first. As they gain more confidence, they'll be out in the yard more often. As long as they have access to the outdoors, I wouldn't worry about how much time they spend in the coop.

    If you want to encourage them to be outside, make sure they have some cover just outside their coop door. Give them something they can stand or rest under, so they feel safe and not so exposed.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  9. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    My chickens are let out at 7-8am and go to the coop around 8-9pm, or whenever it's dark. They don't spend ANY time inside the coops from the second I let them out, on their own accord. Even when it rains I will give them the option of in or out, don't think chickens are allergic to the rain.

    There is a park around Sacramento that houses about 30+ chickens/roosters. Just wild birds that hang around the park, and most of them chose to stand in the rain rather then under cover lol!
  10. shchinchillas

    shchinchillas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2010
    Ours are out as much as possible. They let them selves out in the morning, and are put away around 8-9pm. They go back on their own choice if the weather is bad. Sometimes they run into the barn, sometimes they continue doing what they were with no mind to the rain, or they'll find cover under a tree/porch/etc. I just let chickens and do as they want .

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