New Freedom Ranger question... they never end, do they?

SandraMort

Songster
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
1,115
2
171
ny
Sorry! LOL


Today my husband and I put the run together behind the barn and will be blocking the gaps so the birdies can play outside tomorrow for a few hours in the sunshine, I hope. They are (counting fingers...) 18 days old today. How long do they need to play in the run (nice and big... for NOW) before they can be taught how to free range? One week? Two? Until they start looking crowded (which will be a while, since I'm processing half at 4 or 5 weeks old).

The run, in case it matters, is a half circle around the barn, made up of eight 6' panels and one 2 or 3' panel. It's pretty big and has lots of low brush and saplings to play around and under, but plenty of bare-ish ground for digging in, too.

Edit: Seven 6' panels, not eight.
 
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moenmitz

Songster
11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
428
0
139
We kept ours in a run attached to the barn for about a week- just long enough to teach them where to go in and out at night, so it would be a habit for them. I did not want to have to try to chase 100 birds around 12 acres at nightfall and tryt o herd them into their coop!Now, as soon as dusk approaches, they come from all over and pile up in front of the barn door. As for teaching them to free-range, not really necessary. They will figure it out pretty quickly all on their own. I threw a few grains out in the grass for them to find- by the second day they were crazily stalking bugs and nibbling everythign they found.
 

SandraMort

Songster
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
1,115
2
171
ny
When I mean "teach to free range", I mean not to go too far and to return at bedtime.
 

the1much

Currently Birdless Hippy
11 Years
Jul 20, 2008
5,351
50
251
with maurice, the original space-cowboy
hahaha,,,,well,,,guess i havent heard of those,,,, was wondering why you just didnt call em free rangers,,ha

they must grow fast to be processed at 5 weeks,,,,,,,,,
it only takes most chickens about a week to fall into a schedule,,and if they come running when ya feed them,, then they'll know where they belong,,hehe
 

dancingbear

Songster
11 Years
Aug 2, 2008
2,836
38
191
South Central KY
I don't think you can teach them to stay in a particular area, but chickens usually hang fairly close to home. Mine cover about a square acre with wandering, some areas more than others, with the coop about center. They'll go in at night on instinct. When they've got an established place to sleep at night, they'll return to it at dusk every day.
 

SandraMort

Songster
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
1,115
2
171
ny
I'm interested in "cornish hens" for thanksgiving. According to the other threads, 6 weeks is 3+ lbs live, so that's already too large. I'm looking for about 2 lbs live for thanksgiving. The rest of the guys get to stay alive until December.

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