Introduce a new flock to freedom

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sutherland906, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 in my new flock, 3 australorp, 1 SLW and and ee/maran mixed cockerel. 4 mo old on most, about 3 on the SLW. We brought them to their new home 2 days ago. What's the best way to start letting them out? I wanted them to be familiar with their new coop, so they've been penned (sounded logical?). I want to make sure they'll return before letting them go out. Should I start with a few at a time and let them roam while I'm out there? Should I try to train them to come using treats first? Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Let them out to free range about an hour or less before dark. They will all head back to the coop, to go roost.
    Usually they stay very close to the coop the first outings.....
    Stay with them the entire time though...
     
  3. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Makes sense to time it like that. Hopefully I can increase length of time for a few days and wean them into it. Thanks for the input.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd leave them confined for a good week or two.
    Start 'training' them to come to the 'rattling treat can' late in the day, now while they are still confined.
    Then start the letting them out an hour before roost time....increasing the range time each day as you see fit.
    Use the rattle can every once in a while, more frequently at first, then often enough to keep it effective.
     
  5. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aart, I was thinking the same with the treats. I was initially planning to do that with treats, and then start letting them out for a little while on Friday or Saturday (brought them home last Saturday). While I don't want to rush it and chance them taking off, I'd love for it to be a quick process. A much cheaper version of organic food!
     
  6. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't think they will "take off." More often the problem is they don't want to come in at the time you think they should (like if you want to coop them up while you are gone) or you have an area you don't want them to enter. Our little flock had acres and acres available in all directions, but always stayed within about one acre. Always in sight of home.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are these adult birds that lived somewhere else previously?
    'Homing' to a new coop and land is pretty important...I wouldn't rush it.
     
  8. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope they won't, but it's like sending your kids off to school for the time! Paranoid mom comes out. They have acres, but we still have neighbors that I'd prefer they not go off and visit.


    All are about 16-18 weeks, except the SLW. I think shes at least a month or so younger. I want them to be acclimated before they have total freedom, but definitely want to start the process. I'm hoping to try a few short free range mini sessions, and see how it goes. I'll probably wait until the weekend though.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Do they have a run, and have they been going into the coop to roost at night without fail?

    Time to acclimate will be on your side, the longer you give them to 'home' the better.
    The shorter of time you first let them range, the better....
    ...if they get spooked and panic they may scatter and not come back if not familiar with where is the 'safe place'.

    Chickens will teach you patience....or not.
     
  10. Sutherland906

    Sutherland906 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they have a run and have gone to roost with no problems. When I do let them out, should I try to let them go in small groups at a time so it's easier to manage, or trust them all together?
     

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