Letting chickens free range?

goatkeepers

Songster
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
830
0
149
Mooresville, NC
This might be a stupid question but I have read that several people let their chickens out during the day to roam the yard or where ever they are at. How would you guys catch them when it's time for them to go back in?

We just got our first chickens ever a few weeks ago and DH is building the hen house and run as I type but it would be nice to let them out in the yard when the weather is nice. But I can't see myself catching them. Right now they are in a little chicken hutch since they are only 3 1/2 weeks old, but they are pretty skittish.

I'd really love to know how people deal with that.
Thanks.
 

Justino

♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫
12 Years
Dec 21, 2007
5,110
38
281
KY
i shoo em in with a stick
but at night they go in the coop to roost.....but a herding stick really works! or u can just catch em the hard way by picken em up
 

Chirpy

Balderdash
12 Years
May 24, 2007
3,788
25
221
Colorado
The easiest way is to teach them to come when called. As soon as they are old enough to have treats give them something good and call "here chick, chick, chick!" Or, whatever you want to yell. They will quickly learn to come running to you when you yell that and it will be real easy to get them to come inside the run when you need them.

The other way is to let them out later in the day and let them go back into their hen house at dusk by themselves. They will always go back in to roost in their hen house at night and then you just shut the door.

When you move them outside to their new digs don't let them free range for at least a week, I would suggest two weeks so they learn where home is.
 

goatkeepers

Songster
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
830
0
149
Mooresville, NC
Thanks you two. So it's pretty much fool proof that they will go in at dusk? I am not even sure if I will let them free range, we have hawks that eat the neighbor's chickens and we only have 3 and are pretty attached to them already even though they are scared of us! lol :p I try to handle them and pick them up but they get frantic! I gave them some watermellon yesterday and couldn't believe how much they loved that. 2 out of the 3 chicks will eat their food out of my hand so I'll try calling them right before I stick my hand with food into their hutch. Thanks so much for the info!
 

Nichole77

Songster
12 Years
Jul 14, 2007
451
9
141
Arizona
Mine go in at night on their own as well. I don't even close the door anymore but I don't have a predator issue.
 

wynedot55

Songster
12 Years
Mar 28, 2007
1,295
8
181
your hens will go back to their henhouse to roost at nite no prob.but i wouldnt let them freerange till they been in their henhouse 6weeks.that way they know the henhouse is home.an id let them out to range 2 or 3hrs fore dark to start.
 

ChickenCop

Songster
12 Years
Dec 24, 2007
340
1
139
Southern Indiana/Henryville
I am mixed on free range and penning them up. Even after I build my run I can bet you for sure I will let them run out in the grass when I can.
Just like clockwork every night at 815 pm everyone is in their "assigned" coops, I have the kids go out and shut the doors for the night. It took maybe a week for all of them to figure out where to go for the guy I got them from let them run all day and night.
 

willheveland

Songster
11 Years
Jan 29, 2008
946
17
174
southern tier,NY
If you are ok with them going in at sundown,they should on their own once they are bigger.I always keep scratch in a metal coffee can and shake it to get them to come in early,they get use to the sound and will come quickly. Will
 

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