I just built a Silkie coop/run and was going to put a door to let them free range with my other egg-laying chickens. If I do this will the chickens all go back to there own coops? Thanks for any input on this. I will try to add pics when I can.
The last time I had chickens we had three separate small coops and about 30 chickens. It was interesting to see how they put themselves up for the night since they too were all free range. You might be surprised just who takes up with who. As long as there are plenty of places for every one to roost I wouldn't be concerned with making sure that they each stay in the original groups. They will find what roosting group works best for them and if they don't like certain hens someone will be booted out or will leave to another coop on their own.
We had one coop that seemed to be the favorite where most of the chickens liked to go and the last one in got booted out and would go to one of the others. Though we had one hen that seemed to like to sleep by herself and she had one coop all to herself. LOL!!
We have tried that and had to usher everyone back into their own coops. It may work for you but it didn't work for us. What we do now is if someone is at home we just shoo one pen back into their coop/yard and then let the next group out. But all ours have their own yards and then there is one big yard off those that they share for more "free ranging room". It is still fenced for protection but not a covered yard.
Thanks everyone for the info. I thought they might figure it out for themselves. I plan on incubating Silkie eggs so I will not let them free range for that time period and just leave them in there own run like I do my Seramas now. I will update this post as I move forward. Thanks again to all.....
When I added to my flock, I built another coop so that all would have the appropriate amount of space in the coop. When the new birds moved outside into their coop, they were kept inside for two weeks to make sure that they knew where home was. They spent 30 days in their run adjacent to the other run to get to know the other birds or whatever happens when you do this. When the door between the runs was opened, they all mixed.
For several weeks they would go up onto the porch of their coop to sleep. When they got too large to sit on their porch to roost, they moved to the porch on the older coop. It is wider than theirs. After while they got even larger; and they moved inside the older coop to roost. One by one, they moved so that soon there were none on the porch at night.
I soon relented and added more roosting space in the older coop. Now all ten are roosting in a 4x8 coop.
The new coop is unused. No one roosts in there, no one nests. I started to use the coop for storage of bedding and such. But, it is there if I need it.