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how to keep them home...?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wesnsherri, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. wesnsherri

    wesnsherri Hatching

    Jan 5, 2009
    my question:

    i keep hearing of chickens foraging for themselves and keeping bugs down.

    How do they do this if they are kept in a chicken coup and if i let them out of the coup, how do I keep them from wondering off. How do I get them back into the coup to lay eggs if I let them out to eat bugs?

    I'm sure there is an obvious answer but i raise rabbits, not chickens and I just envision my feathered bug eaters wondering all over the neighborhood in search of a meal.
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Mine rarely go more than 100 yds from the coop. If theyve been laying eggs there, most will come back to lay there.
    Some may find other spots to lay, but confining them a few days gets them back on track.

    It will partly depend on how close your neighbors are as to whether they will leave your property
  3. 2468Chickensrgr8

    2468Chickensrgr8 Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    I gave my new girls some time to adjust to the coop and where there nest boxes were by letting them out about 2 hours before sun down...
    I know now that most of my girls lay before lunch and they will march back into the coop to lay their egg in a nest box....plus I always keep a couple golf balls in the nest boxes so they think everyone else is laying there also....hope that helps....by the way....Welcome...to BYC
    On days that I need to keep them in their yard I place either old straw,raked leaves,cut grass in their yard in a pile and they enjoy spreading it all around..looking for bugs etc.....great compost also....they'll do the same thing out of their yard...
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  4. I know what you're thinking....they're just going to wander off into never, never land. They won't. They know that the coop is their home. Leave the door open to the coop while they are out foraging and they WILL come back to it. If you will throw some scratch into their coop when you want them to come back, they'll come when you call "chick, chick, chick, chickens!!" Works like a charm!!

    Word of warning...don't give them treats outside their coop...only when they are good girls and boys and come in. That way they won't thumb their beaks at you if you call them and they don't want to come in from playing yet. [​IMG]
  5. Portia

    Portia Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    Chickens are home bodies. Once they know their coop is home they will always come back. Most of mine forage within a few hundred yards of the coop, but I have a couple that take off into the woods each morning and by afternoon I see them back in the front yard. They are also creatures of habit, so if the coop is established as sleeping quarters and the nest boxes as places to lay eggs; then that's what they'll do...almost to a fault. Right now I have a broody in one of the nest boxes and the hens that usually use that box to lay still come in, sit on top of her, lay and then head back out to forage. [​IMG]
  6. bantamman13

    bantamman13 Songster

    May 27, 2008
    As long as your birds have been in thier coop for week or so before you let them out to freerange they won't go far and you will be suprised how quickly they will go up when it starts getting dark. As far as laying in the coop my Marans lay early in the morning most of the time so I don't let them out till couple hour after daylight and its not a problem.
  7. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I kept my first 6 in their coop for a week or two after they first arrived (they were started pullets) before letting them start free-ranging. It took me awhile to figure this out, but when it came time for them to go to bed they went in all by themselves.

    When it was just those girls, they stayed relatively close to the barn, the house, and the treeline, but didn't like being out in the open too much. They almost never traveled farther than the south end of the house. Now that the flock is larger and has a roo standing guard, I've discovered that they go almost all the way to the south end of the property (maybe 1000' from their coops) -- which means they're covering almost the entire 5 acres. I do have the property fenced entirely with horse-safe wire mesh so they can't leave unless they want to fly out. No matter how far they roam during the day, they're always back in bed before dark.

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