1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

New chickens - country free ranging.. how far will they travel?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TinaK, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. TinaK

    TinaK Songster

    Feb 12, 2010
    Hi Guys,

    Been a while since I posted... i've moved from 'backyard chickens' to now proudly owning a small farm... and I just picked up my first farm chickens [​IMG]

    (left my other babies in town at my parents place! They are now also enjoying the benefits of chicken ownership.... and loving my chickens more than I can imagine [​IMG] .. chickens now go inside onto the hardwood floors and hang out with my parents in the evening!)

    My question is... my new chickens.. If I let them free range straight away... will they hang around? or will they run like all hell for the blue gum plantations that surround my 20 acres!

    Should I lock them up for a few days until they know where 'home' is? and then let them out during the day..

    (they will be locked up at night of course!!)

    I assume I should lock them up for a few days? but I want them free roaming ASAP! (they look like they are in need of some love)

  2. calgal98

    calgal98 Songster

    lock them up for a few days. At night go into the coop and call them and give them some scratch. after a week or two let them loose for a couple hours and call them back with the scratch just before dusk. They will start running for the coop whenever you go there expecting the treat. Works great except for the die hard escapees.
  3. TinaK

    TinaK Songster

    Feb 12, 2010
    chickens locked up in their temp home ... which is very cosy and comfy. Roosting happily!

    I discovered today that one of the poor chookys has only one eye.. seems like it lost its eye some time ago as it is fully healed over. It's only good eye isnt so good either. I'm not sure if it's from being pecked by the other whilst in transit, or if it has another bad eye that's on the way out... I'm sure she will be happier here with me at least (old laying hen from local free range farm)

    I hope to let them out tomorrow.. I don't want to leave them cooped up for too long. They are mature ladies, and used to being free range [​IMG]

    (knowing me, i'll supervise them all day... and stalk them.. and if they stray too far, I'll be on to em!)
  4. Tbird84

    Tbird84 Songster

    May 16, 2010
    Arab, AL
    I've got 3 acres and mine only range 2 of it. Maybe 'cause the back acres butts up to the forest. [​IMG] The first few times I let new ones range, they might be a little confused where they are supposed to sleep, but they figure it out quick. I just pick them up and put them in their own coop and usually they will be there on their own the next night.
  5. TinaK

    TinaK Songster

    Feb 12, 2010
    I am surrounded by a blue gum plantation on 3 sides (Blue gums that are FULL of wildlife too, like koalas and hundreds of kangaroos! and probably foxes.... [​IMG]).

    Supposably the lady who last lived here lost her chickens to foxes if she didn't lock them up at night.... (who doesnt lock their chickens up!!!)

    I'm about to go and release the 4 chooks from their temp coop where they slept last night! I'm kinda excited, I've been looking forward to getting some chickens again. I missed their happy 'bock bock' noise.

    arms herself with a few slices of bread and heads out the door...... [​IMG]
  6. homeinspectorman

    homeinspectorman In the Brooder

    Mar 24, 2010
    SE Oklahoma, Durant
    I start my new ones out slowly. About two hours before dusk the first three or four days I let them out. Once I feel that they know where “home” and their roost is I start letting them out for longer periods. Usually takes less than seven days before all of us are comfortable with free ranging all day.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Not always do foxes or any other predator prey at night I would suggest a good tight run, if you start getting predator problems. I have found the most effective schedule is NOT to do the same thing everyday. Somedays, I let mine free range, somedays I let them out late afternoon, somedays I keep them locked in the run/coop. by mixing it up, I have better luck out witting the predators, and still letting mine free range. If predators come to the conclusion that there is always an easy meal, they hang pretty close by. I had a coon who left a note to leave BBQ sauce, he was tired of them plain![​IMG]

    I have a ranch, nearest neighbor is more than 3 miles away, and my chicken's do not leave the building area by much, they tend to stay not too far from the run/coop. MrsK

  8. taimenz

    taimenz Hatching

    Aug 18, 2009
    I only have seven hens one rooster. I used to have three guinea hens that i got rid of. I own an acre and a half in an area where everyone owns an acre and a half or more across the street is woods. All the lots are heavily wooded and my chickens free range. When its cold out the hang around the coop more, but when i had the guinea hens they used to follow those birds far. One day i was walking into the adjacent piece of woods to deer hunt and saw my chickens and guinea hens together in a big oak ridge scratching for bugs about 400 yards from the house. Now that the guinea hens are gone they dont do that anymore. The back acre of my property is fenced with 5' cattle fence to keep my dogs in that the chickens can fly over and they don't even go over the fence now they stay inside of it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by