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How to introduce chickens to free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JoseyWalesX, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. JoseyWalesX

    JoseyWalesX New Egg

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    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey guys, I just finished my coop and bought my first chickens, 6 Rhode Island Red hens and a Rooster.

    I built my coop identical to this (http://greenterrafirma.com/images/chicken-coop1.jpg) but a good bit larger, 9x7. I live out in the country and would like to free range my chickens in the yard but I need some advice on how to introduce them to life outside of the coop without them running away. I will shut them up at night once they go to roost.

    thanks!
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    If these are nearly full grown hens and roo, I would keep them in the coop/ run for three or 4 days if you have just moved them in there. Then I would let them out about 1-2 hours before dark. They won't travel far at FIRST, but after they get more comfortable they will. Then as they and you get more comfortable, let them out earlier.

    Remember, everything will be free to the chickens and they love flower beds, and will tear them up.

    I open my run in the morning, and let them out for most of the day. But if you let them out you do risk losing them to a predator, a rooster is not real effective untill they are closer to 18 months old.

    If these are baby chicks, I would let them out too, but I would not leave them until they are bigger and fully feathered. If they are really small chicks, I have let them out inside my vegetable garden, they were too little to scratch up plants, but loved the bugs and would get in the shade of the plants. The babies can be tricky to catch up.
     
  3. weimlikeschicks

    weimlikeschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I let my 2-3 week old chicks out as often as possible, under strict supervision of course. They do their thing for a couple hours or so and then get tired and start looking for shade to lay in. When they move outside permanently I plan on leaving them in the open coop/run for a week before slowly letting them out to range.

    They really love being outside!
     
  4. JoseyWalesX

    JoseyWalesX New Egg

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    Apr 3, 2012
    Thanks for the tips, they are a year old and I just picked them up on Tuesday but they seem to be adapting well. I'll try letting them out for and hour or so before dark.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    If they are a year old, they will be fine, another trick is at night, always call "here... chick, chick, chick," and throw a handful of scratch into the run, and they will go right in. Sometimes it is helpful to have a way to quickly put your chickens in the run.

    MrsK
     
  6. KimKimWilliamso

    KimKimWilliamso Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2012
    Nanton, AB, Canada
    Was wondering the same thing. Great advice so far, thanks!
     

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