Teaching chicks to come back to coop

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Goatmama123, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Goatmama123

    Goatmama123 In the Brooder

    Nov 2, 2015
    I have read that you want to keep your chicks confined to the coop for a week or two prior to letting them free or pasture range so they recognize it as their home.

    My chicks have been in the coop for a little over a week, when can I let them out (time confined to coop and age)...should I not let them out til the spring? They aren't full size yet... does that make them more susceptible to being bird prey?

    I also have goats in my pasture... do I need to introduce them to each other first?

    Also when should I clip their wings...and whats the best way to go about it?
  2. threescompany

    threescompany Songster

    Aug 3, 2014
    My experience has been this:
    I kept my pullets in run/coop area for 2 weeks so they were about 12-13 weeks when I let them out. It was fall so there was still good daylight in the evenings so I let them out about 1 hour before the sun went down. They went right into the coop when the sun went down. I supervised that time to alleviate the chance that predators would get them.
    Not sure about goat/chicken interaction.
    I do not clip my chickens wings because I live in a rural setting ,no close neighbors and I want them to be able to fly up to a branch to get away from some critter if they need to.
    Good luck!!
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
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  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
    I live in (Hilo) Hawaii, we don't have much of a weather concern nor many predators problems, this is how I do my chickens....

    I have my "coop" in my patio (enclosed under a 3 x 8 table), I have a mobile run that's made out of PVC (5 x 8) with tarp & bird netting over the top. I raise the hatchlings in the house (plastic bin) until I can't handle the dust, usually about 2 - 3wks then move them out to the coop with light at nights. During the day when it warms up (does get chilly), I transfer them to the run in their plastic bin.

    During this time I "train" them with some freeze dried meal worms; feeding smashed up with my hand & shaking a container of MW. They learn the sound of the shaking container, in about a couple weeks follow me to the run from the coop....I test them, when approaching the run I shake the container & they come running. When I feel secure, I leave the run door open, they slowly explore the yard (fenced in). I keep a close eye on them & "test" them with the shaking of the MW container now & then.

    They're feathered & about 6 - 8wks, by going to the run from the coop on their own, they know where both are for safety (we got hawks & owls that circle). By the time they're 8 - 12wks I allow them free range of the yard with no supervision but listening. They come into the patio about an hour or two (preening themselves) before they enter the coop & I close them up.

    Freeze dried mealworms are a great training tool & they learn who feeds them. I feed mine in the run, every morning carry out their FF to the run & they're in the run before I get there, waiting. MW are then used to call them in or just treats.

    As for you goats, I'm sure they'll keep away but eventually get used to having them around. I do not clip wings, they need all the help they can go get away from prey. And happy chicken will stay home. Oh, we're in the process of building a bigger (8 x 12) stationary, walk in run out back...




    1 person likes this.

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