Part-time Free Range to Coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MWright936, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. MWright936

    MWright936 Just Hatched

    Jun 9, 2016
    We have 4 hens (2 Rhode Island Red and 2 Easter Egger) that we keep in a coop most of the time, but almost every day we let them out into the back yard to run around. The coop is about 4'x8' (pictured below for reference), so they have room to move around inside, but they love to get out and "free range". We were thinking about going on vacation around the holidays for about a week or so. We will have people come check on them daily to fill food and water and check the nest boxes (they haven't started laying yet, but they should be soon), but we don't want them to be let out without "supervision". Their wings are clipped, so they can't escape the yard, but we're worried about predators getting them when nobody is around to watch them.

    I say all that to ask: Will it hurt/stress them to leave them closed up in their coop for a week when they're used to getting out and running around on almost a daily basis?


  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    It certainly won't hurt them. Is there a neighbor that could come by like an hour or so before dark and let them loose (supervised, of course) and then fasten their coop shut at dark? Who knows - they should bring a lawn chair and watch a little evening "Chicken T.V."
    If not your birds will certainly survive the time in captivity. You can leave or have someone drop off occasional entertainments or diversions for them - a handful of black oil sunflower seeds or meal worms tossed into their outside bedding so they can scratch and pack...a head of cabbage suspended from a rope for them to peck at....a watermelon, cantaloupe, or pumpkin cut in quarters. etc. I'm like you - I am pretty sure I feel worse for my chickens when I can't let them out than they feel about it themselves!! [​IMG] Enjoy your vacation and those eggs when you get back!!!
  3. They are Chickens.....Have them put out a Pumpkin with holes carved in it so they can reach the flesh....If you can trust them to get them in at night then ask to have them free ranged....Really....They will be okay while your gone...Bored..But safe...

  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nice coop and run!
    Run is 4x8, coop is 4x4.
    Looks pretty secure, except maybe latches.
  5. MWright936

    MWright936 Just Hatched

    Jun 9, 2016
    Thanks for the info! I figured they would be alright, just wanted to make sure it wouldn't stress them or anything.

    You're right aart, coop is 4x4 and run is 4x8. I usually just refer to the whole thing as "the coop" so I didn't specify. It's definitely secure. It might be hard to tell from the photo, but there are latches top and bottom on the coop and run doors, and a positive lock hook on the nest box lid. I'm confident they're safe inside their coop/run.

    Thanks again!

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