not laying yet, move to free range in afternoon?


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 6, 2009
We have 10 hens that are 5 months old. We keep them in a coop (at night) and attached run during the day. We would like to start free-ranging them for part of the day. We have about an acre that is fenced in with a deer fence--so it is not totally bird proof. Our dog cannot get out, but not sure about chickens. Should I just let them out of the run area in the afternoon when we are all home...and then leave the door open for them to come back into the run/coop in the eve? If they are not laying...I should not let them out in the morning--until they are laying in their nesting boxes (from what I 've read on other posts?). is it ok with our dog out too?--she has been fine with them since they have been around...but I don't want to cause the chickens any trauma if she is just around. Thanks for any insight.


11 Years
Sep 19, 2008
I've done both, let them free range all day with access to the run/coop and kept them in their run during the day letting them out in the evenings when we are home. Currently now, mine are kept in the run during the day and each evening get to free range. This does help me know where to find the eggs and assures me delivery of them without having to search the yard for them. When I have free ranged them all day, I do not have any eggs in the nesting boxes where I normally would..........soo for me I only allow them to free range all day on the weekends. Gives them something to look forward to and keeps me in eggs during the week! But to each his own!


11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
San Antonio, Texas
Hello. I keep my 15 RIRs in the run with access to open coop chicken door until after 12:00 noon. Most of my hens lay sometime in the am hours. I only let them free range in afternoon or after work hours when someone can be around.
My DH has rotatiing hours so he is able to let them out to free range around 2:30pm

Then its back in the run about an hour before sun down. I love to see them stampede for the chicken yard when they see my car pulling into the country drive after work. They know I always give them treats to lure them into the run.

pretty smart birds!


10 Years
Jun 22, 2009
Oklahoma County, OK
Ours always return to the coop to lay even when they are out free ranging in the AM. Our dog is out with our girls at times by herself and not a problem.

Deer fence is usually pretty high (7') amd we haven't had any try to get out. A good part of our area for free range has chain link fence. Interestingly, they know which ones they can fly over and no problem...and which ones they have to wait for the gate to open before they can pass. On the fence which we did not want them flying over, we took them off each time they flew up on it and put them back on the ground on the correct side. If they flew over, we caught them and placed them back on the correct side. It took about a week, now they never fly over. They wait for the gate or they don't go.

We found they herd well and respond well. After a few times of stopping them, even in open areas where we placed limits on their travel distance, they know their limits and rarely go too far. But they test and need areminder on occassion. As soon as they see someone approaching them with the pole (8' white 1" PCV pipe), they race back to the approved area.

Good luck!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom