How to get them to range?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brandywine, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. brandywine

    brandywine Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    My eight-week-old pullets and guineas are chicken!

    I've been letting them out of their small run for part of the day for a couple weeks now, and they are sticking awfully close to the barn, often clustered under the pop door or back in their coop/stall. It's rare for me to see any of them more than 30' from their run. I can sometimes coax them a little further out with some scratch, but they fairly quickly return to the lee of the barn.

    I have 26 acres on which they may safely roam, no roads, dogs patrol for predators.

    I want the little beggars out from underfoot! Pooping in pasture! Eating bugs and looking scenic!

    How long will it take for them to, you know, range?

    The guineas are particularly annoying, as all eight of them move in a scrum, and if one gets separated, they spend all their time and energy trying to reunite and shrieking about it.

    On the plus side, it's easy for me and my right-hand-dawg, Pip, to put them up in the evening.
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    Mine stayed right next to the coop for weeks before they started venturing out to far. Just give them time to get comfortable with the idea of the big outdoors. They'll be running around in the fields before you know it! Thank heavens you don't have to chase them all of kingdom come and back to get them up every night. [​IMG]
  3. oldegger

    oldegger In the Brooder

    May 4, 2008
    Monclova, OH
    8 weeks is pretty young. they will go farther as they get older. I would watch what you wish for. 26 acre daily egg hunt will get old fast [​IMG]
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Mine started to free range at five months old and stayed very close to their coop for weeks. They then started to go between the barn and coop (about 200 ft.) for a few months and now (a year later) they are going between the coop/barn and house. I have 40 acres for them and they still stay right in the vicinity of the buildings. Yes, I have Guineas also and, so far (they are only four months old) stay with the chickens.
  5. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC

    Mine will absolutely NOT go beyond the coop deck area of the house. I only have an acre but god forbid 200 ft away is way too far. I'll even carry then out a bit to where we set up my daughter's pool and they will all bolt back in a perfect line toward the coop... stand at the door a second and the then venture out a few feet. Thats it... so I just deal with it *shrug*
  6. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Ours also spent several weeks very close to the coop, and they were about 12 weeks before we turned them loose. They've been free-ranging for several months, but 300 feet from the coop is about as far as I've seen them go.
  7. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    Yep, your flock is way to young to expect them to risk their life outside without a broody was mom, or older ones to teach them the run and hide sounds.

    Patience is the key here....something your flock will definitely teach you.

    Nothing better than chickens for a hands on way of learning how we all should slow life down to a point of living that isn't rushed.

  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    My 6 wk. flock were quite timid with their first free range experience, but after a day or so started mimicking the big girls. I think Bigzio and the rest hit the nail on the head, they are a little young to be brave without the guidance of an older bird or flock to teach them things.

    I've been rather surprised at how quickly mine adapted and learned an alarm signal from our rooster. He gives a call and they run very quickly for shelter...all 22 of them! The White Rocks are the bravest by far and range far and wide just like the big girls.
  9. G.C.

    G.C. Hatching

    Jun 29, 2008
    Michigan eastern U.P.
    We have 35 R.I.Rs. Seven weeks old. They have a big fensed in area to run in. A few days ago we started leaving their door open to the outside world. Usually they venture out only a few feet. We sit up lawn chairs in the shade about 30 feet away from the pen and watch (they are fun to watch). Now about a dozen of them will surround us while they catch bugs in the grass. At the slightest sign of danger they run for the coop. Ten minutes later they are back out. Today one of the little roos was looking up in the sky and they all ran for the coop. There was a hawk circling way up high. Smart little birds. GEC
  10. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    My flock go where ever the bugs and grass are they don't get close to the road on are one acre but they go abit into the field and behind the garden to a mulch bag where there are allot of bugs.


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