Newbie Free Ranging my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by slharman1, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. slharman1

    slharman1 In the Brooder

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    Newbie Question,

    I have a small flock of 12 chickens and they are just over twenty weeks old.
    One of my barred rocks have given us our first eggs now for 3 days in a row.
    We have been letting the chickens out in the evening just around 6pm every other day for about two weeks now.

    Yesterday we let them out around 5pm and it started to rain around 6pm - they all went in the coop on their own.

    Today someone left the coop door open (i like to blame my wife but it could've been me :))
    So they got out somewhere around 4 or 4:30

    My wife came running up to me yelling "there's no chickens in the coop.
    We both panicked! then we found them on the back of my property (3 acres) underneath my trailer having fun digging in the dirt.

    Are we making too much out of this?
    Will they go in on there own at this age?

    Any Help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
    DobieLover likes this.
  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    They will absolutely go back on their own. They will wander further and further from the coop as they get bolder. When they first start free ranging, they usually will keep the coop within eyesight.
    Until all the pullets are reliably laying in the nest boxes, I would restrict their adventures to after 4:00 pm to make sure you don't get eggs left all over the place.
     
    aart likes this.
  3. slharman1

    slharman1 In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2017
    Thank you so much! I kinda thought we were making too much about it. They are actually going in on there own right now. I have told my wife what you said about the 4:00 time. I do t want to ha e to search all over for eggs.
    Thank you so much for the help and advice.
     
    DobieLover likes this.
  4. slharman1

    slharman1 In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2017
    Also I have one more question. How is the best way to get my dogs used to the chickens free ranging? Any ideas on that one.
     
  5. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Crowing

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    Hi,

    I would not recommend having your chickens out of their coop before 6:30 AM because it is still "night time". Night time predators are sometimes still out seeking food....and you know what that might mean, don't you?

    .....especially free range chickens.....
     
  6. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Crowing

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    :oops:
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Good obedience training.....especially 'come' and 'leave it'.
    You'll have to give more details for specifics, are the dogs trying to eat the chickens?
    Having the dog on leash during chicken ranging time might be a good start.
     
  8. slharman1

    slharman1 In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2017
    That's what we've been doing so far. No problems yet, but my small dog got a taste of chickens about 7 or 8 years ago and that worries me.
    Thanks
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    Adult dogs with new chickens? On leash training, more training, and constant supervision. On leash until the birds are boring, and then consider a shock collar to give you that much longer leash.
    Many dogs can be out with supervision, but never alone with them. Many other dogs will always love chicken!
    Mine love chicken, being terriers with very high prey drive, and a lazy owner who didn't make the effort to try to reform adult rescue dogs. Puppies are easier!
    Meanwhile, really good fencing!
    Mary
     
  10. slharman1

    slharman1 In the Brooder

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    Thanks. That’s what we’re doing.
     

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