How/when so I start "Free Ranging?"

AppleMomma65

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
253
324
156
Spooner, WI
My Coop
My Coop
10 week old chickens have been in coop for 1.5 weeks. Wondering when to introduce free range? Other than the obvious - letting them out the coop door - how? Due to fox and hawks in the area, will only FR if I can be in the area but I know chickens tend to wander.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
30,762
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
10 week old chickens have been in coop for 1.5 weeks. Wondering when to introduce free range? Other than the obvious - letting them out the coop door - how? Due to fox and hawks in the area, will only FR if I can be in the area but I know chickens tend to wander.
Start by letting them out about 2 hours before they normally go to roost. They won't go far because they know dusk is coming.
 

AppleMomma65

Songster
Mar 16, 2020
253
324
156
Spooner, WI
My Coop
My Coop
Start by letting them out about 2 hours before they normally go to roost. They won't go far because they know dusk is coming.
Is now too soon? And how to get them back in? My normal call is "Velociraptors, Report!" with some treats ... If one comes, will they all follow? Afraid they'll freak and scatter as I have some skittish ones
 

RojoMarz

Songster
May 21, 2020
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Southern CO...at 8600 ft
I started free ranging mine (now 16 weeks old), about a month ago. I am still watching them while they free-range. They do not go far yet. Most of the time, they stay close together and close to the coop. If one runs home, they all do. I imagine they will start venturing out further as they get more comfortable. My 7 will return to the coop, then free range, going back and forth several times during an outing. I let them out for about 30 minutes, during my lunch break and again after work (3pm ish) for another 30 minutes or so.

How many do you have? Are they all pretty good about returning to you when called?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,943
11,310
636
western South Dakota
They know more than you think. Mine are out occasionally at 3 weeks of age.
  • When you feed always call them, they will come running
  • The longer you let them out, the farther they will go
  • it is a risk
Mrs K
 

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