Taking the troops outside their confines................. yea or nay

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by freefallinsunshine, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. freefallinsunshine

    freefallinsunshine In the Brooder

    May 14, 2008
    Paris, IL
    So, my girls & guys live in a chicken coop with a chicken door to their enclosed pen. However, a mole has made its presence known, and I fear it's eating all my chickens' bugs!!! I'm sure that is a little irrational but still. I also would like for them to be able to roam about the yard, but I am afraid that I won't be able to get them back inside when the time comes...

    We do live on a country highway and the other sides of the yard are fields. I would feel terrible if one of them got hit by a car or ran away into a field where it got lost from me and inevitably eaten. How should I tackle this????

    Leave them all inside? Get chicken leashes (I'm sure that'd piss them off)? Put them out and see what happens??:|

  2. Small Town Girl

    Small Town Girl In the Brooder

    Jul 1, 2008
    Bexley, OH
    I vote for leashes! But only if you post pictures... [​IMG]
  3. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA

    Seriously though, I'm not sure. I had my 32 troops out the other day and it was impossible to get the little buggers back inside. Good luck!
  4. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    I must admit that worrying the mole is eating the bugs is a bit over the top, but very sweet! I'd let them out and see what happens, but realize that letting them out of the run introduces a lot of dangers: hawks, cars, dogs, etc. You are bound to lose one sooner or later if they free range. The trick is to balance the benefits with the risk. And don't worry about getting them back in. By nightfall they'll be cozy in their coop and you can just close the fence.

  5. roosmom

    roosmom Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    upper peninsula
    [​IMG] If you are really that concerned, like I was, about the chickies then you could try my scare stick (grandaughters name for it). I had a pc of thin foam lying around so I cut it into the shape of a bird with its wings outstretched. Then I painted it black with big yellow eyes. I mounted it on a stick and when I needed to get them in the coop I would wave it in the air. I changed hands to make them change directions. I walked around doing a slow wave with this thing kinda like a cowboy herding up the cattle. It worked wonderfully. I do not need to use it anymore but it was handy when I did need to. DONT LAUGH now. BUT, I too would like to see the leashes!![​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I'm surprised your chickens haven't taken care of your mole problem for ya.
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I don't know what to tell you about your highway, so I'll leave that to others. We have a fence that keeps the dogs and chickens from crossing the road.

    If you do decide to start letting them out, unleashed, I would do it at the end of the day. That way, they'll only be out for a little while and then go in to roost. It will keep them a little closer at first, also, as they'll have less time to wander. I always do a head count at night anyway, but especially for chickens that aren't used to free ranging. Just in case one of them got confused or lost.

    The other thing that's very good to do, is to teach them to come to you for treats. Use the same container all the time for treats and they will recognize it. Then, when they are out in the yard, you can call to them and as soon as they see the treat container, they will come running over. They will follow you into the run to be given their treats and you can close the door. It works very well.

  8. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Songster

    Jun 13, 2008
    We have a treat call too. We use the old fashioned 'Here, chick, chick, chick!" and they come running from wherever they are when they hear it. We never treat call unless we have treats. If we are going somewhere, we go in the run, give the call, and throw out a handful of sunflower hearts and they come runnin'.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    You could try some temporary fencing and just move it around every so often so as to have fresh forage. Or install a permanent fence around the yard...always a good idea. A chicken tractor is a great addition also!

    As for coming back at night, I've never understood that question. All the chickens I've ever had naturally go to roost at sundown. You may have a rogue that wants to roost on the porch or the tractor, but most of them want their roosts at night. Then, you walk out and shut the door after they are all in...presto! As for the rogues...you just pick them up (easy after dark) and deposit them in the coop. Never had to feed treats to coax a chicken to the roost at night, its sort of a natural instinct.

  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    The question about chickens coming back at night, is usually from people that have never lived with chickens before or have never let them free range. I never have to give treats to the chickens to get them home when it's time to roost. Using treats to get them in is for when they need to be confined at other times of the day. Or in this case, if they start to wander into the areas the OP is worried about.

    I think the ideas for a perimeter fence or a tractor are very good.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008

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