Letting chickens free range?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by goatkeepers, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    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. [​IMG] Thanks.
  2. Justino

    Justino ♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫

    Dec 21, 2007
    i shoo em in with a stick [​IMG] 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 [​IMG]
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    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.
  4. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    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! [​IMG]
  5. Nichole77

    Nichole77 Songster

    Jul 14, 2007
    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.
  6. mommy9994

    mommy9994 Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    central VA
    yup, mine go in about 4 in the afternoon. I also don't shut them up as we don't have a preditor problem.
  7. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    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.
  8. ChickenCop

    ChickenCop Songster

    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.
  9. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    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
  10. goatkeepers

    goatkeepers Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    Mooresville, NC
    Great, thanks for all the replies! [​IMG]

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