How to get chickens to come when called and when to free range?

ChickenDude12345

Songster
Jun 16, 2021
351
392
131
Northern NH
How do I get my chickens to come when I call? My chickens are seven weeks old and I am thinking about free ranging them soon. I want them to come when I call in case I need to get them in for some reason. They go in at night from the run into the coop perfectly so I was just wondering how to go about training them. Also when do you guys think would be a good time to let them out to free range for the first time? Thanks
 

Sooner Magnolia

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 13, 2014
832
3,670
406
Central Oklahoma
Mine follow me around when i don't call them LOL. I would get a bag of mealworms and shake them and then give them a few through the run fencing or while inside. Vary where you are when you do it. You can also call them vocally at the same time. They will quickly associate the bag shaking/you with food.

They should be old enough now to free range. Start by letting them out about a half hour or an hour before dark once you have the shake technique trained. They won't go far before they are ready to go to bed. Stay out and watch them until they get their hiding places and routine down. Good luck!
 

tibbits

Chirping
Jul 11, 2021
39
38
54
They also love barley, something I always have on hand here on the farm... simpler for me then finding some place that sells mealworms in my area... when you step into the coup, call them and then give them a treat (barley, mealworms etc.) it does NOT take long to get them to come when called... took my hens about 3 times, now they come racing to me from wherever their hiding, whenever i call!
 

ChickenDude12345

Songster
Jun 16, 2021
351
392
131
Northern NH
Mine follow me around when i don't call them LOL. I would get a bag of mealworms and shake them and then give them a few through the run fencing or while inside. Vary where you are when you do it. You can also call them vocally at the same time. They will quickly associate the bag shaking/you with food.

They should be old enough now to free range. Start by letting them out about a half hour or an hour before dark once you have the shake technique trained. They won't go far before they are ready to go to bed. Stay out and watch them until they get their hiding places and routine down. Good luck!
Thanks. I am going to start training them this week with the calling. When I let them out should I just keep increasing the time they have free range time until it is all day?
 

RojoMarz

Songster
May 21, 2020
816
1,442
221
Southern CO...at 8600 ft
I trained mine by putting some treats/something in an empty plastic jar. While we were all in the pen (not free ranging), I vigorously shook the container, said "here chicky chicky chicky" over and over, while hitting a metal pole (making noise). When they come to me, I reward them.

Once that was mastered, I moved to letting them free range...they run to the coop when I do the above (or even part of the sequence).
 

ChickenDude12345

Songster
Jun 16, 2021
351
392
131
Northern NH
They also love barley, something I always have on hand here on the farm... simpler for me then finding some place that sells mealworms in my area... when you step into the coup, call them and then give them a treat (barley, mealworms etc.) it does NOT take long to get them to come when called... took my hens about 3 times, now they come racing to me from wherever their hiding, whenever i call!
Awesome! Thanks a lot for the help
 

ChickenDude12345

Songster
Jun 16, 2021
351
392
131
Northern NH
I trained mine by putting some treats/something in an empty plastic jar. While we were all in the pen (not free ranging), I vigorously shook the container, said "here chicky chicky chicky" over and over, while hitting a metal pole (making noise). When they come to me, I reward them.

Once that was mastered, I moved to letting them free range...they run to the coop when I do the above (or even part of the sequence).
Ok thanks for your help!
 

Sooner Magnolia

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 13, 2014
832
3,670
406
Central Oklahoma
Thanks. I am going to start training them this week with the calling. When I let them out should I just keep increasing the time they have free range time until it is all day?
I think that depends on your set-up, local predators, how you would handle it if you lost any of them, etc. For me, the risk is worth giving them the ability to be free to find bugs, dust bathe where they please, etc. I let them out all day.
 

Lilbitsnpieces

Songster
Mar 24, 2021
112
252
123
I agree with Sooner...i go out between 3 amd 4 (central ) with mealworms. Start by doing it in their coop, so they run into the coop...I call or cluck..😁just make the sound consistent. They quickly learn your call means treats..Make the sound for a week BEFORE you let them free range,, ALWAYS giving mealworms. When your ready to let them out to free range. Call them after 5min..then again after 10 and lock them back in...make their time out longer and longer. In winter, i do this again between 3 amd 4.this gives them a protein boost esp. If temps are going to drop or a storms brewing. In Summer i give them frozen fruit as this is the hottest part of day usually...Benefits is coming when called to saftey of pen/coop.
 

ChickenDude12345

Songster
Jun 16, 2021
351
392
131
Northern NH
I agree with Sooner...i go out between 3 amd 4 (central ) with mealworms. Start by doing it in their coop, so they run into the coop...I call or cluck..😁just make the sound consistent. They quickly learn your call means treats..Make the sound for a week BEFORE you let them free range,, ALWAYS giving mealworms. When your ready to let them out to free range. Call them after 5min..then again after 10 and lock them back in...make their time out longer and longer. In winter, i do this again between 3 amd 4.this gives them a protein boost esp. If temps are going to drop or a storms brewing. In Summer i give them frozen fruit as this is the hottest part of day usually...Benefits is coming when called to saftey of pen/coop.
Ok
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom