1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Out to freerange

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rmonge00, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. rmonge00

    rmonge00 Chirping


    I have 25 chickens, 6 weeks old. They are in their coop with no heat lamp. When do you think I can start letting them out during the day to free range my 2 acres....



  2. zoa

    zoa In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2011
    Buxton, ND
    I have chicks the same age and I let them out for a little while every day- supervised. They love it!!!! They RUN out of the coop as soon as I open the door and start scratching around the yard. They still seem pretty vulnerable to me, so I only let them out when we are around to make sure they are ok [​IMG] Good luck!!!
  3. sjmarshall87

    sjmarshall87 Chirping

    Apr 27, 2011
    I think there is an adjustment period they should stay in the coop to understand its there new home.. isnt there? Once the adjustment period is through I would imagine you can start supervised free ranging..
  4. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    i am wondering how to get them back in the coop. mine are friendly but a little skittish still
  5. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Songster

    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    I won't let mine free range until they're much older (16+ weeks) because they're such easy prey for hawks at that age and I can't adequately police a few acres of pasture. However, I do take them out of the coop and run and into a portable fence designed to keep puppies and other pets in. I sit in the middle of it and let them scratch around me and eat grass. It's a fun way to socialize with them and I feel confident that they're safe.

    As for bringing them out and in, I always carry a bit of cracked corn in my pocket and I'll spill tiny bits of it while I'm walking around, softly cooing, "chook chook chook." They quickly learn to come running whenever they hear that sound so I'm able to move them in a matter of moments from the coop to the portable enclosure and back.

    Every situation is different and there's not just one right or wrong way to do it. I know a lot of people who let their little ones out to free range with supervision. It's just not a risk I'm willing to take because there are so many birds of prey in our vicinity.
  6. Quote:Mine are eight weeks old, have been in their coop/run for three weeks before letting them out to free range in the woods this week. Since I first put them in the run, I have spent time with them in the late afternoon when it is nearly time to roost for the night. This always involves a 'treat' feeding, which is sometimes just their regular food sprinkled on the ground near the coop. They like it out in the woods so much, they don't want to go back inside, (they hide from me earlier in the day) but when I call them for their treat, they come running and sometimes flying back into the run. I decided never to feed them scratch or a treat anywhere but in the run so they will always come back when they know it is time for their snack.
  7. rmonge00

    rmonge00 Chirping

    nice suggestions! anymore...

  8. snazzyboots

    snazzyboots Songster

    Mar 3, 2011
    those are great ideas. mine aren't old enough to be outside of the coop yet but hopefully that will work when they are. thanks guys
  9. kimntep

    kimntep Songster

    Dec 30, 2010
    Ocala, Florida
    Mine are 9 wks this weekend and I let them out for the first time on Wednesday. I was there the whole time and they had a blast until a couple of the big girls decided to start pecking..then they ran straight back to their yard! They did a little better yesterday, so it just takes some time for them to adjust.
  10. rmonge00

    rmonge00 Chirping

    Yes - great suggestions... So here is my problem, I have 2 acres of fenced in property (4 ft fence with heavy breed chickens, so I am hoping it will hold them!) and I would like to set them out soon. I cannot be there to supervise them too often though because I have a full-time job and a newborn... I really don't want to wait to 16 weeks for the roos, because I will be slaughtering them by then and I really wanted to give them a few weeks of pasture before they hit the chopping block. Should I try letting them out - or is this not realistic?

    Thanks guys - I am a first time chicken owner....


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by