Running loose....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kellichick, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Kellichick

    Kellichick Out Of The Brooder

    66
    1
    41
    Dec 25, 2010
    Troutman
    I have a pair of RIR's in a coop/run and I have Orpington's - 1 rooster and 5 hens in another coop/run. If I let my chickens loose during the day, will they automatically come back to the coop to roost around dark, or will I be stuck trying to chase and catch them all? How would I go about letting each group out without the roosters fighting? I thought maybe one group one day and the other the next, rotating back and forth like that, but I don't know. That's why I rely on you kind-hearted, experienced chicken lovers for advice! Thank you in advance![​IMG]
     
  2. 5isenough

    5isenough Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Oct 10, 2009
    If your chicks are as old as the one in your picture, they should come back to the coop to roost at dusk or dark. I don't know about letting them out together, but I would guess they would all be fine together. They just might not go back to the right coop at night, but so what, huh?
     
  3. Kellichick

    Kellichick Out Of The Brooder

    66
    1
    41
    Dec 25, 2010
    Troutman
    I guess my first concern is the roosters fighting. Is there a fix or a good idea for handling that aspect of letting them loose?[​IMG]
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,474
    3,862
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They will almost certainly go back to the coop when it starts to get dark, probably to the coop they are used to, at least at first. Once they really integrate and get to know each other, they may all go to the same coop. But if they have been in there long enough to know it as home, they will go back to the coop.

    The only problem I have had with this, and it seems to happen to a few each time, is that the first time out, they get stuck on the wrong side of the fence. They want desperately to get to the coop, but they forget where the gate is. I have to sort of herd them around the fence until they get to the gate, then they go right in. With a few, I've had to do this two nights straight before they learn where the gate was. I had one Buff Orp pullet that looked back over her shoulder at me on the second night I did that for her, as if to say, "What took you so long? I was getting worried"

    I don't think you can let them out at the same time without the roosters fighting, if they are mature roosters. If one is mature and one is still immature, the dominance issue may involve more chasing than fighting, but at some point they have to determine which is the dominant rooster. They may reach an accommodatiion where they agree which is dominant and which is not dominant and form a good partnership in taking care of the flock. Or one may kill the other. I can't tell you what will happen.

    Your best bet may be to alternate free ranging, one group one day and the other group the next.
     
  5. Kellichick

    Kellichick Out Of The Brooder

    66
    1
    41
    Dec 25, 2010
    Troutman
    Oh, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! [​IMG] I'm on my way to trim a RIR rooster wing and let him and his girl out to roam for the day. She has always roamed around, so maybe she'll help him out a little bit.

    Do you think that she would be alright roaming with the Orp's on their day's out also?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Are they more or less familiar with each other already? Do they see and hear each other? If so, personally, I would try it with the hens. There's no way to know the outcome of the pecking order "discussion" that will ensue, but if they are already familiar with each other, they usually work it out. Personally, once that settled down, I would then try the roos. Granted, that is more serious, though.
     
  7. Kellichick

    Kellichick Out Of The Brooder

    66
    1
    41
    Dec 25, 2010
    Troutman
    Well, so far, I've had the RIR's out all day and the 2 Roos have agitated each other through fencing on and off. I don't know if they are really that super bad or if one's afraid and the other's glad of it! LOL! Tomorrow, I'm letting the Orp's out. It seems to be working alright so far.
    THANX TO ALL FOR THE HELP! [​IMG] Sometimes, I just need the voices of reason! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by