My chickens are "chicken"!

May 26, 2017
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I am new to BYC and chickens. I have 4 hens and 1 rooster who are 3-5 months old. I kept them in their coop/run for the first 2 weeks after I got them. Now, I am trying to get them to go out when I am at home for some "free range" time. They may stay out five minutes and then they are back in the run/coop! I have went back out to check on them and found everyone of them laying on the ground right inside the door of the run! Why wont they stay out and be chickens? My yard is safe, I have 2 dogs in a penl, but they don't seemed bothered by them. I have even seen them once pecking and scratching around the dog pen. My dogs don't seem to even care about them being there. What do I need to do to encourage them that Free Range is good, and not to be so "chicken" about leaving the coop/run?
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
57,049
229,447
1,687
Hi and welcome to BYC. Maybe if you put your feed and water outside the run, they will be more inclined to venture out. It can take a while for chickens to become familiar with new surroundings -being out of the run is new territory for them.
 

Top Rooster

Songster
Aug 16, 2015
924
1,623
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North East Oklahoma
Are they trained to you giving them food like do they run to you when you have food in your hand if so put some food far away from their coop but not too far to where they don't see it when you put the food down make sure they see you do it or you could just kick them out of the coop and shut the door for awhile then let them in later
 
May 26, 2017
48
96
89
Hi and welcome to BYC. Maybe if you put your feed and water outside the run, they will be more inclined to venture out. It can take a while for chickens to become familiar with new surroundings -being out of the run is new territory for them.
They have water outside of the run, and I feed them treats outside as well. Right now, I do not keep food available all day. They get a morning snack, and a snack in the evening when I try to get them to come out. Right before roost time, I feed them their pellets. They seem happy and fine, just scared to death of being outside. I figured it may be because of their age, but I wasn't sure.
 
May 26, 2017
48
96
89
Are they trained to you giving them food like do they run to you when you have food in your hand if so put some food far away from their coop but not too far to where they don't see it when you put the food down make sure they see you do it or you could just kick them out of the coop and shut the door for awhile then let them in later
They come when I call, and know I bring food. They still will not take the food from my hand. I have tried numerous times. I thought about closing the door, but was afraid of taking away their safe place if they needed it. I may have to try it a few times, though. There really isn't a predator issue; not with my pups around.
 

brucifer

Songster
Feb 2, 2017
899
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West-Central GA, USA (God's Country)
They have water outside of the run, and I feed them treats outside as well. Right now, I do not keep food available all day. They get a morning snack, and a snack in the evening when I try to get them to come out. Right before roost time, I feed them their pellets. They seem happy and fine, just scared to death of being outside. I figured it may be because of their age, but I wasn't sure.
Some flocks take time to adjust to being outdoors, so give them time. They will eventually expand their world.
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
138,851
273,142
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Out to pasture
If you can get one brave chicken to venture out, the others will follow. As to your dogs, if they are kept penned, they cannot protect your flock from predators.

You could try sitting out in the yard (outside of run) and calling them and throwing some treats out. If that works, you could move your chair farther away from run till they feel brave enough to explore.
 
May 26, 2017
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They are getting much better about being out of the coop/run. In fact, they have a certain area they have discovered and dig and dig and dig!
 

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