question about free ranging

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Queen Scoot, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Queen Scoot

    Queen Scoot Crochet Chieftess

    May 27, 2008
    my girls are almost 6 months old and have never free ranged.
    i think i'm scared that they wont come back. our yard is fenced all around and we have a LGD who is excellent with them. my question is how do you start free ranging? do i just open the run and let them out all day long??
    HELP..... i am clueless!
  2. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    Maybe start them in the late afternon on a day when you can hang out in the yard. They will naturaly want to go back to their coop if gates are pen to do so, right around sunset. If youre worried, just tke a way their food for the afternoon and then cast some about shortly before nightfall to bring them all home. Then lock em up and youre good to go!
  3. Bi0sC0mp

    Bi0sC0mp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2008
    well i got 5 that free range 4 hens and roo 24/7 i stared letting them out while i was out there and put them back in for the first few days then after that i just let them go free range on there own they come to the barn to eat lay and sleep rest of the time they are off haveing fun
  4. newchickenfamily

    newchickenfamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    I started letting mine out in the early evening about an hour or so before the sun went down. Once I deemed it "bedtime" I would round them up and herd them back into their coop. After a few nights of doing this, something "clicked" and they put themselves to bed.

    I now feel comfortable letting them out all day. They are 4 months old now.

    Keep in mind that I'm totally suburban with a fully fenced backyard. Not sure exactly what your set up is, but mine can't leave the yard unless they fly over the fence (that's never happened so far). They kind of "run/fly" barely high enough to leave the ground.

    Hope this helps!
  5. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Make sure they have stayed in their run for at least 2 weeks before letting them out and if they have you can just open the door and let them out. The first few weeks they will stay close to their home and mine went right back in at help needed. I only let them out a few hours before sundown to start. And I have NO fenced in yard at all...they just seem to know to stay close to home. It's pretty cool! Good luck! Don't be worried they are smarter then we give them credit for [​IMG]
  6. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2008
    I'm sure if you open the door, none will come out. [​IMG] You might have to grab the flock leaders and put them outside yourself. Once out, they will come back when the sun goes down. They might not know how to use the ramp, and some of the less flighty breeds might have to be taught once.

    It is pretty amazing that they just return on their own. Why didn't humanity breed dogs that will put themselves away at dusk? [​IMG]
  7. BUG126

    BUG126 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2008
    WA State
    I had not planned on having free range chickens as I didn't want to deal with the poop/predator situations. One day I decided to let them run around while I worked outside. Opened the doors, they didnt leave the coop. I had to throw some feed out for them first. This went on for a few days before they would leave the coop on their own. Now I have to fight them off when I open the door if I dont want them getting out. I love their reaction everyday when I let them out. They try to fly, make tons of noise, and go absolutely crazy! And every night...they put themselves away (except one). We have lost one chicken to who knows what and the poop issue....if the kids could remember to take their shoes off by the door it wouldnt be a problem.
  8. emeraldquill

    emeraldquill Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2008
    I bought a roll of cheap plastic netting and made a pen close to the run so they could see it...let them out for a few hours each time,and when opened they run straight back in themselves.
    After a few days I opened the pen and they explored the garden over the next few weeks on their own. Now they range from 8.30am until 9pm or so. When I go out they are all in bed and I just have to lock them up.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    They should come home to roost. Mine are pinioned, so they won't roost in the apple trees if they should take a notion.

    I freeranged the 1 mo. olds last starting last week. At first they would only go a few feet away from their coop, but then they got adventurous! The first night I went out to see if they had found their way back in...they were all camped out on the pile of straw right outside the door. They've been ranging for a week now and they all go back inside the coop each night, like clockwork. Tomorrow they get a bigger roost, so they can all roost together if they choose. Right now they sack down on the floor. Cute little things!

    Funny how they go to their coop each night and the big gals go to their own also. I'm waiting for the day when they will intermingle at night as well as they do in the day.

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