1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How soon can I let the hens out to free range the yard?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RichnSteph, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    882
    108
    148
    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Flock of 10 birds, mixed breeds and mixed ages. I'd like to tear the run down and let them roam around the yard. They have only been in the coop/run for a couple of weeks so I'm concerned that they won't find their way back and instead roost somewhere else.

    How long do you keep them "at home" before letting them out to roam?

    RichnSteph
     
  2. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    A few days usually works for me.... Threes usually the max, I think they would go home for you, but you never know for sure until you try.
     
  3. Americano Blue

    Americano Blue Mush on!

    17,683
    125
    316
    Apr 14, 2014
    Hello Spring
    My Coop
    When they have all their feathers they can go out side. Chickens usually go back to their coop to roost @ night. As long as you don't move the coop/ run, they should come back to sleep. From what i have been told, keep them in the coop and run for a couple weeks or a month so they are used to sleeping in the coop. Chickens are birds of habit and will go back to the same spot to sleep usually.
     
  4. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    882
    108
    148
    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Thanks folks! I'll give them through the weekend and let them out Monday morning when I'm off so I can keep an eye on them. I think they'll be much happier running around the yard.

    RichnSteph
     
  5. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,649
    5,405
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You could start by letting them range for just an hour or so before sundown...they won't go far in that time and you'll be able to see their behavior as it gets dark.
    Next day go a little earlier, rinse and repeat until you're comfortable they know where home is.

    I'd not tear down the run, you may need it in the future for outdoor confinement if you find a predator problem.
    The absence of the run also might confuse them as to where the coop is.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    189
    13
    68
    Aug 31, 2014
    I started out letting my birds out at one week.

    Then when I moved then into the coop at four weeks I kept them on lockdown for two or three days.

    After lockdown I let them out one afternoon thinking I'd have to gather them up at dusk but when I went outside to my surprise 16 were inside and 3 were at the foot of the ramp.

    Since then they've always been inside on their own by dark.
     
  8. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Chillin' With My Peeps

    882
    108
    148
    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    Thanks again all. One more question. Will they range as a flock or do they usually just all wander in different directions? It'd be nice if they stayed together so the rooster can keep an eye on them.

    RichnSteph
     
  9. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    189
    13
    68
    Aug 31, 2014
    They stay together.

    If one gets separated they usually panic and try and call out to the flock.
     
  10. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    I kind a have sub flocks.... Four are always with the rooster and four usually don't go out of the coop they just range in a small area near the coop not sure why.... The younger flock occasionally takes off on their rooster but he's learning how to keep them together...
    The ducks are always glued to each other :)
    I have learned that they are not a thing like chickens.... It's neat.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by