Stay, chicken. Stay!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lainy, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. Lainy

    Lainy In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    What's the best way for a hen and her brood to learn to accept their new home? We bought a hen with several little ones with the intent of giving them free range to our fenced-in yard. The yard is large but immediately the little ones seemed to think the dirt was browner on the other side, and went through the 5 ft high chain link fencing. We live in a rain forest area, so until the chickens know where home is, we could lose them all to the dense greenery. We hadn't intended to build a pen for them because there are no chicken predators on this island if the babies don't stray too far. We can keep the chickens in a spare room at night until they start to roost, after which we'll have a protected area with roosts available to them. During the day we'd like to let them roam the yard. How long should we keep them inside to make sure they know what address they live at? Thank you!
  2. The best part about chicken coops is that they are the over-all familiarity to the chickens who live in them. I really do suggest you build a coop, just big enough for all of the chicks and Momma at least. If they are truly safe from predators, then you don't have to make a big deal, but I'm sure instinct is telling all of the birds that there location is not safe, that there is no place to 'set up camp' and they don't know the area. What they really want is some security, even though babies are feeling pretty rebellious and want a walk on the wild side.

    My suggestion: Build or find some sort of shelter for them, it doesn't have to be fancy. Keep Mommy and her babies in the enclosure for approx. 4 days, maybe longer, and don't let them out for that amount of time. They need to 'know' something, so that when night falls, they know where home is, or when they are roaming, they know an area to come back to. If they still don't cooperate, keep them kept in longer. If you really don't want to make a big deal, just keep them in some sort of cage for some time. There's no exact science to this. Keeping them in a spare room works fine now, but when they are outside and can't find the cozy room they were kept in, they might be pretty confused.
  3. Annabella

    Annabella Songster

    Apr 17, 2010
    They do need a place to call home - otherwise they will go looking for one.
    They will also need to be locked up in it for a few days to realise that this is it.
    I have four foot chain link fences between the neighbours place and the girls have never flown over it, they know where home is.
    You say you are surrounded by rainforest, has your yard bushes/trees in it? Or are the girls looking for that sort of shelter in the forest?[​IMG]
  4. Spring Chook

    Spring Chook Songster

    Dec 29, 2009
    I agree, whether there are predators or not, your chickens need a home, somewhere to roost, lay, and feed. I kept my new chickens in their coop for 1 day and then in a fairly large pen for 2 weeks before I let them free range. Its also a good idea to make sure you only feed them in their pen. This will make them more inclined to return there regularly. My chickens are free to roam half an acre of garden for most of the day, but tend to stay in or around their pen most of the time. Although they could easily get into the neighbours yard they very rarely do.
  5. Lainy

    Lainy In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    Yes, there is a shrubbery and a large tree in our yard to give the chickens a sense of security. It's probably just not home to them though and the chicks don't know any better. They just go where they want and figure mama can fit through the chain link fence and keep up with them. I don't know whether a Turken chicken can fly over a 5 foot fence to get to where her chicks are. She was confined when the babies went through the fence and she and I were equally excited about the babies going off into the rain forest! We usually have everything ready before bringing critters home but this was a surprise. My husband started building a secure area for them today and will finish tomorrow. The chicken family is in a spare room for tonight.
  6. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    You need a coop. If you don't give them a home, they will find one and it may not be where you want...

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