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Just brought home flock - Question on roosting at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KF5IWR, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. KF5IWR

    KF5IWR New Egg

    Apr 9, 2012
    We recently moved to a chicken friendly area and a friend has been keeping our flock at her place until we were ready (she picked up 5 hens and a rooster and only needed 2 hens at the time).
    Well we just picked them up and have them in their new coop. We would like to let them free range but weren't sure how long it would take them to realize that this new coop is their home. Should we keep them in there for a few days before we let them out to free range or do you think the will return on their own if I put food out around bedtime?
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    If the coop is large enough, I would lock them in for two days.

    Also, do you have a secure run attached to the coop?

    Ideally, you should lock them in the secure run and coop area for maybe two weeks before letting them out to free range.

    Also, as to free range, make sure the area is dog proof and have areas for them to hide from hawk/eagles etc.

    But, you are right that it is pretty easy to food train chickens. Use the same word or sound cue each time you toss out treats and they will quickly learn to come running when you call.
  3. KF5IWR

    KF5IWR New Egg

    Apr 9, 2012
    We have about 3 sqft of space for each bird (3 hens and one rooster) and no run attached. So I can leave them in there for 2 days no problem. Outside the coop they have plenty of places to hide from hawks. We have a dachshund that we are taking out near the coop so she can get used to them but we would never let her out without supervision around them. We are also planning on getting a great pyre / collie mix (tonight actually). She is about 13 weeks old and both her mom and dad were working dogs on a chicken farm. So she's grown up around them. I plan to keep her near the coop as well while the birds are cooped up for the next few days.
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    You might be able to make that work, but 3square feet per bird is a bit small. Also, at some point you will want a secure attached run for when you are out late, or when you go out of town.

    In addition, some chickens really prefer hiding eggs instead of laying them in the nest boxes. With an attached run, you can keep them locked up until lunch, then let them free range, and that way increase your chances of getting and finding eggs.
  5. ChickCrazed

    ChickCrazed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2014
    Lebanon, Indiana
    More room is better, especially when the weather gets bad and they spend more time inside. Mine won't go out in the rain or snow so I am reducing my flock size to allow for more sq. ft per bird, at least until I get the time and money to expand their digs! I don't like that the mellow birds get picked on when they are in close quarters! A partially covered, attached run could help alleviate those types of issues.

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