New chickens -- eek!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ridgeline, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. ridgeline

    ridgeline New Egg

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    Sep 28, 2012
    Black Hawk, CO
    Well, we just picked up our first chickens last night - 3 New Hampshire reds and 2 Easter-egger hybrid something-or-others. We are planning on free-ranging them in the fenced area with our alpacas. We have a 5-ft 2x4 horse fence around the perimeter. We kept them in the coop today but I'm sure they would like to get out of there soon. How long should we keep them in there so they figure out it is home? Should we monitor them when they come out to see if they are planning on trying to escape the fence? We live close to a fairly major road and I don't think they would make it long if they decided to fly off. Sorry for the silly newbie questions, but this is a whole new area of livestock for us! Thanks!
     
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    No questions are silly...except the ones you don't ask :) First, welcome to BYC! Do you have an enclosed run at all for them? If so, you could let them out in that for a couple days prior to letting them free range. If not, can you rig up even a temporary pen for them? I'm thinking they might well get used to the "coop is home" idea more quickly if they're kept from wandering too far...then they'll go in at dark on their own. After a few days of that, you shouldn't have a problem. You might also want to clip their wings to ensure they can't fly over that fence and get into trouble.
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    NEK, VT
    They should take to their coop within a few days. I'd probably leave them in most of tomorrow giving them 4 or so hours to free range before going back to roost themselves at dusk..
     
  4. ridgeline

    ridgeline New Egg

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    Sep 28, 2012
    Black Hawk, CO
    We are contemplating getting a run for times when we want to go out of town for a few days and not have to worry about them. But we don't have one currently. We could throw something together pretty fast if we need to, though. That might be the best way for ME to feel better about them.
     
  5. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Colorado
    We put our chickens before the coop, so to speak, and until it was done, we used some metal conduit and chicken wire to make a pen for them...just wove the poles thru the holes in the wire and pounded them in the ground far enough to stay put. Wasn't pretty, but it did the trick. That might well work for you until you get the "real" run done. It'll let them get used to the area and confine them to a smaller space so they will go in the coop at dark. After a few days, they should get the idea.
     

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