ready to free range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by welman, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. welman

    welman Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    New Hampshire

    I have 4 week old chicks, they love being outside in their run (we have a fairly small chicken ark, so they're under their coop). They have mastered returning up the ramp finally. If I start free ranging them, is it safe to assume they know to return to the coop??

    Thanks for such a great place to learn!

  2. welman

    welman Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    New Hampshire
    by the way, I'm considering letting them out into the big world because they seem a bit bored in the small run area. Maybe I should find other ways to entertain them for now???
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    How long have you kept them in their coop before letting them out to the run? I kept mine in coop for two weeks. Then let them in their run for two weeks before letting them out to free range outside the run They always went back into the coop for bed. My cochins were the stuborn ones...I had to help them in the firs ttwo days now they go in on their own too [​IMG]
  4. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    We lets our chicks free-range at 2-3 weeks old, they would find theie way back or we would herd them up using a stick to guide them.
  5. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Being so young, i would fear losing them all to hawks [​IMG]
  6. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Quote:You could always wait another week or two before letting them out if you're not sure. I've noticed there comes a definite point when you can tell they really need to move up to a larger pen, or free-ranging.

    Also, feed them in their coop when they come back in the evening (evening if you have to herd them back). That's a big help in letting them know where to return to.
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Depends upon what you mean by "free range". Are you on acreage or in a fenced yard? We let our free range starting around 3 weeks and they were fine. We did have to corner them a few times to catch them and remind them where home was.

    ETA: we live in the city and have a fenced back yard. The girls weren't allowed to wander unless supervised, which let us know where they'd go and exposed potential holes in the fence. They did find all those holes and there were a few panicked moments when I realized they were on the other side of a fence (once with a wolf-dog hybrid!!).

    Once they reached around 5-6 weeks, we let them go unsupervised, but only when we're home.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008

  8. chicksinthemachine

    chicksinthemachine Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    I didn't let mine free range in the yard until they were 6-7 weeks old but with close supervision.

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