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Pullet Behavioral/Free Range Question w/ pics

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 4CrazyEggs, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2012
    [​IMG]I have 6 pullets(4RIR6wks, 2BR8wks) and I am a first time chicken wrangler. I built a good coop(I think) a couple nice perches surounded by a 12'x12' run. Only one BR will go in on her own 50% of the time. We have to grab the others and place them in. We have a dim light(solar landscape light) and food and water in the coop. The food goes all night untouched. My wife and I are thinking of locking them down for a time to get them better used to the coop.

    Is this the best idea or will it happen over time? How long?

    We are in the city of Colorado Springs and have a large backyard with a 6' picket fence and would like to free range them while we are back there with them. It appears to be chcken escape proof. Does this sound like a feasable plan and how would you go about conditioning or training them to return to the coop/run when needed.

    Thanks All!
    A bunch of work has been done the run and coop since this photo but it will give you an idea. I have a bunch of pics in my profile.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
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    Our chicks are about the same age and we put them out in the coop about 2 weeks ago. I locked them inside the coop all day/night for two days, then I let them out mid-morning when I was home to watch them. We also have their food and water inside the coop. I found that after about 2-3 hours, they went back inside to eat and drink - then took a nap inside the coop. They came out in the afternoon again for a few hours and then around dusk, they went inside on their own. Now that they are bigger, they are starting to wander a little farther away from the coop during the day, but they are sticking together. Yesterday when I came home from a meeting around lunchtime, instead of napping in the coop, they were sleeping under a cedar tree, but they did head back to the coop at dusk...

    As for conditioning them to return to the coop/run "when needed" I'm not sure that's possible unless it's at dusk...but I am a first time chicken owner too.
     
  3. heybarb

    heybarb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2012
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    Actually, as to the question about getting them back into the run when you want them to go, you could offer treats and call them...ours have just started coming when called. There are two or three that are very excited about treats...and the rest follow because they don't want to get left behind...
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I am considering myself lucky then.. I just moved my entire flock of 36 last Friday, and I didn't lock them down at all. They took to it like bread on butter. My chickens sure are troopers with change...

    The little ones seem to push the time limit the furthest. They are the last ones in at night. They wait until all the older hens/roosters are on the roosts before piling in like a gang. They travel in their own little subflock.

    I'd just keep placing them in until they got the idea. I don't like to lock them in on nice days :p
     
  5. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Why do you want to feed in the coop? From best I can tell you have plenty of room to feed and water under it. I personally think that's best. Chickens make a real mess with the feed. Why make inside? When and if they go in at night don't expect them to eat. They're headed to roost for the night, not have a feast. Do you keep the pop door open all day. I see in the pic it's closed.

    To get them in the run when you want, I have conditioned all mine to respond to "come on girls" and throw out some scratch in the run. If I can, you can. Everyone of them goes where the scratch is put. The younger ones follow the older hens and in no time they got it figured out.

    You may be somewhat new at raising chickens, but in no time you'll know exactly what to do, but always learning.
     
  6. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2012
    As always I am amazed by everyone's knowledge and experience Thanks! I have read a bunch and many people on the site keep their feed in the coop so that's why I have tried it for the past few days. I would prefer to feed them underneath and am gonna build a pvc feeder this weekend for under the coop. We have feed in the coop right now for the lockdown. I'm hoping they get this figured out soon. Thanks again everyone.
     
  7. GentlyLiving

    GentlyLiving Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 20, 2012
    Ole,
    Do they not need food and water at night? I have mine in the coop right now because I thought they needed access to water at all times. I would love to move mine below the coop too, but didn't want to dehydrate the little girls at night. My first flock too :)
     
  8. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guess I got lucky, first night had to put a couple in the coop and the others followed. Second night showed them the door and they went in. Third night they all marched right in their selves. Now a couple sit on the door step and enjoy the evening air till I close the door.
     
  9. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2012
    I'm jealous and probably not doing something right. ha ha ha
     
  10. ROCKIN R FARM

    ROCKIN R FARM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we are in the process of doing this right now. Only difference is,, mine are all grown up but they are in a new pen and sleeping area. Last night I threw some feed near their ladder to get into the coop, then I went inside and dh stayed outside. The ones that saw the feed came right in, the others we had to show them the feed buy putting it on the ground close to the house. Then Dh went and got them and placed them in the house while I tossed down some feed treats and we locked the door(s). Yesterday morning I let them out and we did the same thing last night too. As soon as day break hits here I will go and let them out. During the day they go in and out but at night they are not sure if they are suppose to or not.
    I keep the feed and water outside they do not need it in side the coop.
     

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