Still new to this...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CLOUDNINE, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. CLOUDNINE

    CLOUDNINE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2012
    I think this belongs here? I got my first chickens last year, and was probably over protective ;) My husband built a great coop and covered run for them, but I was scared to let them free range for several reasons- I wasn't sure I could get them back into the coop, I didn't want to miss out on any eggs, and predators. They are now grown, and I have ordered some more pullets (they are due around the end of Feb!). I want to try and get my chickens to have time out of the run. I feel like they are missing some protein due to the lack of bugs, etc and maybe they can boost their diets by having time outside. I also want to get a system established before the new babies come so they can eventually become part of the group. I also have one rooster in the flock that seems to be getting excessively grumpy.

    So I guess my questions are-

    How do I get them back in the coop in the evening? Or do I just wait and then close them up in it?

    Should I open the run door in the morning, or just wait until lunchtime? If I let them out in the morning will they go back to the coop to lay, or do I have to trudge through the briars to find any eggs? ;)

    I also have couple of small dogs that have shown a lot of interest in the chickens through the wire, how should I train them to leave them alone? Or do I leave that to the rooster? :)

    Do you think it will help the rooster stop being so people aggressive? Or did I wait too long?

    I want to expand my chicken farming a little bit, and make sure I am doing it right, so thanks in advance for any advice!

    BTW- I did get the chickens out just now, so any advice about getting them gathered back up would be greatly appreciated! LOL I figure I have a few hours to figure it out!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    At this point they should return on their own, and they should return to the coop to lay as well. At least mine always did when I free ranged.

    Untrained dogs will usually attack and often kill a chicken. It will probably take quite a few hours of working with them to prevent this. They have to see you as the leader first. The rooster won't be much protection against the dogs, if any. Lots of folks lose birds to their own dogs.

    There are some threads and probably articles here on how to stop people aggression in roosters, which may or may not work. if you have more than one, they are also competing with each other for flock leader.

    Here is a good article about adding chickens:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

    Good luck!
     
  3. CLOUDNINE

    CLOUDNINE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2012
    Thanks! You're right, they did return to their coop even before I went to try and round them up! The dogs are trained, but they have "selective hearing" on some things! Little dogs always seem harder that way, my big dogs don't even bat and eye at the chickens. I hope I can keep them under wraps, but the chickens have also already found a good briar patch to hide in, so maybe that will help, too.
     
  4. CLOUDNINE

    CLOUDNINE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2012
    Just a quick update! My chickens are much braver today about being outside the run! Yesterday they spent most of their outside time in the briar patch, and then went into the run/coop before I went back to lock them in. Today, they had to be bribed to step outside, but are now very happily pecking in the grass and exploring! Yay! I hope it will stay this smooth ;)
     
  5. CLOUDNINE

    CLOUDNINE Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2012
    So my little flock had a rough afternoon today :( The one dog that I have been worried about with the chickens managed to get out of the house while they were free ranging! She harassed the chickens before I could grab her, but I don't see any injuries on them even though my Roo lost some feathers. It took them a while to get back together after getting scattered in the briars and woods, but they are all tucked back into their coop now. It was really traumatic for all of us! I can't decide if I should try and get them out again tomorrow, or just open the door and see what they do.

    The Roo is the one I have been having aggression problems with. I hope this doesn't make him more aggressive!
     

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