do you get the free ranging chickens back into the coop?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 1, 2010
Ontario Canada
Silly question I know...but how on earth do you get them back into the coop each night???
I am considering free range, but want them safe and sound at night. So how do I round them up?
If they are already going into it to sleep at night, they will just continue doing that. They have a great homing instinct.
All you need to do is make sure the door is open, and to go close it once everyone's in.
Yep, its wonderful to watch. I was hesitant about letting mine free range, so I let them out in the evening. They eat bugs, worms and anything they find, like to see what is happening on our porch deck and are very good at staying out back. Right before sundown they file back into the coop and go to roost. I go back out when it is dark to lock them up. I keep both doors to the coop and run open for them to go back when they want.
My father in law told me that when you first set out your chickens to enclose them and the coop in about a 20' fence around the coop, for about 2-3 weeks. By the end of that time they will have completely bonded with that coop and won't stray past where they can see it.
Worked for my girls.
I agree with the other posts, and, you can teach them to come when you call them with treats. I start when they are in the brooder and used mashed up boiled egg. I put it down and at the same time say; 'chick chick CHICKENS!'. If you do this every time you give treats, they'll come running to you outside when you call them and go where ever you place their treats..
I learned a trick....I go inside the coop holding a cup of scratch and shake it at the run door, within seconds they are all in the cool I then close the door. before I tried that I was hauling 1 or 2 back in at time it was crazy!!! this is soo much easier. lol
I am a complete newbie at raising chickens (I have had mine for just six months) and I can tell you, this is very simple. Just keep your chickens shut-up in your coop for a couple weeks so they "know" that it is home. After two weeks, you can let them out and at first they won't stray very far from the coop. Each day they'll get a little braver and a little braver. When the sun starts to go down, they head back toward the coop and one by one they go in and roost! All I have to do is go out after dark and shut them up! It's great! No work to it at all.
Definately keep them in their coop and run area for at least three weeks. I let mine out in the evenings when I come home from work around 4:30 everyday. They get about 3 hours of daylight to range. While they're ranging, I like to go out and treat them occasionally so that they'll all come running when they see me. They LOVE wheat bread and rolled oats..or BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds)...scraps from whatever I'm cooking for dinner like tomato tops or vege peelings. I have one pen of chickens that I close the door while they range because there are a couple of young bantems in with them that aren't ready to range. These are completely ready when I go back out at dusk to go back in their pen. I open the door and in they go. LOL and if one of them balks at going in, I just open the door back up and send my roo Uno after her. He'll go round her up for me.

Another pen, has a flock of 5 young pullets. These can be brats and refuse to go in. They're doing better these days though, and if I toss some scratch into the run, they'll usually go in. If they don't, I go back in the house and wait til it's almost black dark..right before so I can still see, and they're usually in and on their roost by then. Short of a big bass net, you can't get a chicken to go in if it doesn't want to. The best thing you can do is to just relax. They'll go in to bed when they're ready. The key though is that initial lockin. They have to be imprinted on their sleeping quarters.
It is amazing how they know when and where to go when the sun goes down. They learn really fast. At first it took three of us to get them in and then one day I did not go out there until almost dark and they were all where they were supposed to be. I just closed the gate. If I have to put them up early I use a broom to help guide them and that works well.
If they know where home is and feel safe they will go in the coop each night all by themselves. I do have chickens that will have a sleep over. Really, some chickens from the blue coop will stay the night at the pink coop. Never really saw any from the pink coop go to the blue one for an over nighter. The pink one is nicer....... lol.

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