New Chickens- when to leave them out to free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LeezyBeezy, May 15, 2010.

  1. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    My friend gave me two 1 y.o. hens and a rooster. Their previous home had a coop, a fenced run, and they were allowed to free range at times. We have them in our coop, which is really big (15x24). We have no run in place yet, just a broken down chicken tractor that needs repair and 12 acres full or grass and bugs!

    They have been in since Monday night, and are itching to get out. There is a pop door on the outside wall (the coop is in a barn) and a regular sized door on the side, which I can get in by. This is only about 10 feet from the big barn doors to the outside.

    Have they been here long enough to consider the coop home? Do I let the pop door open and just see what happens? And how in the world do I get them inside at night? They love Cheerios, so I think I could use that as a treat to get them in the regular sized door. Should I leave some water inside the big barn doors- so it doesn't ge too warm in the sun? Or bring their regular waterer outside their coop? Would it be better to let them out later in the day, so they aren't wandering all over the place? And how far can I expect them to roam?

    thanks!
     
  2. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    They should see "home" as home, I would suggest you put out some water in a shaded area inside the coop or run so they can get used to their new home as home. They won't roam to far though will cover a distance. At first they should stay quite close to the coop and move out longer distances as time goes on and the get used to their surroundings. Early Morning exercise would be nice, though it's your choice when you want to let them out.
     
  3. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    Keep them locked inside that nice new home for a week, then an hour before sunset, let them look out the door and if they choose, let them wander outside. Once that sun starts going down, they should walk right back inside where they're now used to roosting or nesting. Every day, you can increase the amount of time you let them free range before dusk.
     
  4. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    I let them out today for a few hours. It took some bribing with treats for the NH and the roo, the EE said "see ya" and made bee-line out. They had a good afternoon, wandering but circling back, until the dog.... She chased the roo into a pile of heavy brush, waiting to be burned.[​IMG] Ugh- so dirty- as we'd burned some already. We finally got him out and put all three in the chicken tractor, which they enjoyed. I put them back in the coop, which was a feat in itself. I don't think they wanted to go in at all- onery buggers. [​IMG] Tomorrow- I will try it closer to dusk.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010

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