i want to let them out some

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by beach livin', Oct 25, 2011.

  1. beach livin'

    beach livin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i want to let the girls out some to free range in my yard, but i dont trust them at all. they scatter when i walk into the run and they wont come near me. so how am i to trust them outside the enclosure? we got them 4 weeks ago when they were 16wks old, and they were not handled at all by the previous owner. they spent all day free ranging and roosted in the trees. what should i do to be able to let them in my yard?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Here's what you do: About an hour before dark, open the run door. Then sit and watch them if you want. They will be afraid at first but then eventually, they'll all come out. They usually stay close to the coop and run at first........

    This will give them just an hour to play outside a bit. You'll be pleasantly surprised when they all head back inside as it starts to get dark. If they don't, throw a little bit of cracked corn into the run and they will all come a-runnin'!

    Since your chickens have been with you four weeks now, they should have a sense of where "home" is. They will!

    Try it, and let us know how things went,

    Sharon
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If they have been living in the coop and run for 4 weeks, they should know where home is and should return there to sleep at night. They are ready if they are ever going to be ready from that aspect. Once you let them out, they may willingly start to explore or they may be relunctant to leave what they consider a safe place. With their history, they are probably ready to go but you never really know. But the key is that they should be ready and willing to return to the coop to sleep at night.

    I suggest you let them out about an hour or so before their bedtime so you can observe them. They should want to go back to the coop to sleep, maybe even desperately. The reasons I suggest you try it just before dark is so you can watch and gain some confidence yourself, plus they might actually need some help to get back in. I've had chickens that do not understand the concept of "gate". Occasionally, on their first and even second day of freedom, they get on the side of the run away from the gate, desperately want to get to the coop to sleep, but can't get through the fence. I have to walk them over to where the gate is. If you let them out early in the day, they may not be able to get to the food and water by themselves. But just because they can go through the gate to get food and water does not mean they can go to the gate to go to bed. Those bird brains just don't process logic the same way we do.

    Something else you can do if you wish. You can train them to come to the treat bucket. Take them treats and always give the same call when you feed them. Maybe say "chicky, chicky" as you feed them and they start to eat. Maybe rattle the treats in a bucket or container at the same time. You might not be able to catch them and pick them up, but after a while, you will probably be able to get them to go back into the run doing this.
     
  4. beach livin'

    beach livin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    im scared [​IMG]. i really have a fear that they will scatter to the four winds and they will be gone!
     
  5. ck-newbe

    ck-newbe Out Of The Brooder

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    You might try teaching them that you are the treat giver while they are still in the coop, before letting them out. You could start with especially yummy treats like cheese or non-salted nuts. I was in the same situation as you a year ago and I made sure to make friends with my chicks before letting them free again. I used non-salted sunflower seeds, it didn't take long before they really liked me :)
     
  6. kellieg1

    kellieg1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    beach livin' :

    im scared [​IMG]. i really have a fear that they will scatter to the four winds and they will be gone!

    I was too! But, like the others have said try this before bed time. Thats what I did and they did find their way to the coop. (got all of my info from here! ) I did this for about a month, then all was fine.

    Now I let them out in the morning and they are all over the place! [​IMG]
     
  7. TN_BIRD

    TN_BIRD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with chicmom...let them out in the late afternoon.

    If you are truly scared, then perhaps you can begin training them for a few days. Call them, then treat them. I suspect they'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. My birds were pretty flighty until they realized that I am the source of treats. Now, I get mobbed when I visit them while they are free ranging in the yard. [​IMG] Heck, anybody that comes out of the garage door gets mobbed (that's where I keep the bird seed that i use as treats).
     
  8. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Then teach them to come to you when you do something different. Like a bell l. It makes a distinctive noise. A bicycle horn or bell. Ring it beat it just before they see you. Then you throw them a treat. Now start every morning the exact same time and begin with the conditioning. Do the bell where they cant see you and walk up and set it down with you there and while they eat the treat ring the bell a couple of times. Then over the next couple of weeks you will see there behavior will begin to change when the bell is rung. Now start hand feeding the treat and do not give it to them until they come and get it from your hand. Now ring the bell unseen, feed and walk up ringing the bell and then hand feed. Now then after a week or so put the treat on your knee or thigh with jeans because they can pinch or hurt not knowing it. They will begin to associate you with the bell and food. Classical conditioning (also Pavlovian or respondent conditioning, Pavlovian reinforcement) is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900's.
     
  9. beach livin'

    beach livin' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok, i tried it for a few minutes with my "favorite". i let her out and she pecked the grass for a couple minutes, then she went back towards the run area and tried to get back in. guess it was a start. and by the way, the girls LOVED the left over brown rice from our dinner. i separated it out into 3 containers so the alpha hen wouldnt peck all the others away like she typically does. she was trying to control all 3 stations, but when she went to one, the other hens would go and peck out out of the others. i think she got the idea that she couldnt control all at the same time. bahaha(evil laugh)[​IMG]
     
  10. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are just being a mommy [​IMG]
     

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