if I let them out of the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tankernav1, May 11, 2009.

  1. tankernav1

    tankernav1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    Our 8 hens are about 8 weeks old now---gosh I'm losing track. They look so big and fluffy now with all their feathers. They've been out in the coop for 2 weeks now---the henhouse is "upstairs" with 2 nesting boxes but they haven't ventured up the ladder yet. That's fine with me and we have put some temporary walls up on 2 sides of the coop run so that they have some protection from my dogs watching them. I would really like to start letting them out a bit though. They are only on chick starter and worms that my daughter gives to them every now and then and tonight I gave them some grass I pulled. They also get yougurt at times. So the big question is.....if I let them out tomorrow while I'm right there....will they go back in the coop??? I will put away my dogs inside and probably my cats too since I'm so unsure what will happen. They are very friendly and interested in us when we come in the coop or come to the door. I'd like to think they would follow me or stay close to me in the grass. Is it better to try it now while they are young or wait a couple more months? I really want them to be able to eat naturally pecking at the grass. I don't like having to feel responsible for their enclosed environment.. Thanks for any advice. They are our pets too so I just don't want to take any chances.
     
  2. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    They will most likely go back in, but not until dusk or dark. They may also collect at the coop door, needing a little help to get inside. A light inside the coop would help - it encourages them to go in when it's brighter inside than out as dark approaches.
     
  3. sherrydeanne

    sherrydeanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    They won't roam far. Let them out after supper (and yes, lock everyone up although my cats don't bother mine) and make sure they're in at dusk and lock up [​IMG] I will warn you though that after they've tasted freedom, they're going to want let out every time they see you [​IMG]

    ETA: They won't roam far the first few days, but will get braver as time goes on.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  4. tankernav1

    tankernav1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    So .....DO I let them out??? I just figured they would have more to do and can naturally get grit by being out in the grass. Otherwise they are on a concrete slab with straw for a floor and very tightly protected against predators. Is it better to wait until they are older to start letting them get a taste of freedom? Is there a "right" time to start? Thanks!!
     
  5. vtsarahb

    vtsarahb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Bradford, VT
    Yes, let them out... but keep an eye on them. 2 weeks in the coop is long enough for them to consider it "home." [​IMG]
     
  6. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    I start letting them out as early as 5 to 6 weeks old if the weather is cooperative.
     
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mason WV
    Let them out. Mine are the same age & have been out for two weeks. I only let out two the first day then 4 then all 16. The first few times I had a hard time getting them to stay out while I was getting others out. If I open the door most go running back in.
     
  8. tankernav1

    tankernav1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 20, 2009
    They went out------AND they are now back IN! Woo hoo! They were out for about 45 minutes. Stayed pretty close to the coop which I like but don't like because it is sitting on the edge of our property and even though there is a 3 foot fence between us and the neighbor's driveway I know that won't keep them on our yard. They seemed a bit more feisty---I mean going after each other and flying on each other's backs. Maybe they were just excited? When it was time to go back inside I got some yogurt and put it in the same bright neon green Nemo bowl we used since they were a few days old. Seven came right away and 1 ran around the coop a few times first. But within about 1 minute they were all inside. I'm sure I will get braver about letting them out but this was good for tonight. So those of you that have chicks the same age, do you let them out UNsupervised?? When would I feel comfortable with that? Thanks again! Debi
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Quote:When I started letting my chicks out, they were 2 1/2 weeks old. I supervised them constantly at first and less and less as they grew and I was more comfortable. By eight weeks they were out all day and I checked on them every other hour or so.
     
  10. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MERRY LAND
    Mine are out all day all the time. It has its risks, but being caged is not what I want for them. Depending on the breed, the 3 ft fence may be enough to keep them in. I would recommend letting them out little earlier each day till they are on full days, so as they wander further they will remember where home is. I have some seperated in pens 40x100 for breeding purposes, but the rest have around 6 acres that they can roam on, only the guineas seem to use all the land, and through the woods to visit the neighbours. I agree with above once they get that first taste of freedom, they will want out everyday.
     

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