Teaching to free range

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Geckochick, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Geckochick

    Geckochick Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 16, 2011
    How do you teach to free range? We have 27 five week old chicks. Today DH put a few in a pen over the compost heap to let them pick it over for a bit, and on the way back, we let a few walk behind us... They happily followed me back to the coop (I took care of them in the early days as DH was away, so they are my babies), but the two DH had were kind of lost. So.... my question is, if you free range your peeps for any period of time during the day, without a hen, how and when do you start?
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    All of mine free-range. My chicks go from brooder to grow-out pen, to free-ranging. To start them free-ranging, I just open the door so they can come out and explore when they're ready. Most of the time they don't feel confident to get very far from the door the first day or two or three. But over time they will venture further and further out until they're comfortable exploring the far reaches of the boundaries. They do vary by batch as to level of adventurousness. I've had some that ventured quite a distance on their first outing. And the batch of 3-month-olds I am raising now didn't come out at all the first few days the door was open and once they did, stayed close enough to the pen to be able to run back in at the slightest provocation. It is only in the past couple of days, after WEEKS of the door being open, that they are actually venturing any distance from the pen at all. Give them time - they will learn to enjoy it.
  3. Deedrahsue

    Deedrahsue Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2011
    Fresno, TX
    I started with a new flock last year and no grown hens, they free range on their own here. But I have heard of people laying seed or scratch where you want them to start free ranging. We are on an acre and they pretty much know to go to the compost for scraps and around the tree by there coop is where I lay some supplement feed. Mine did fine on their own, good luck to you.

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