What is a good age to let chicks free range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wannabe_goatmom, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. wannabe_goatmom

    wannabe_goatmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Wellington KY
    Hi all! I am a new chicken owner and my 6 chicks are 7 weeks old. They are starting to get bored in the coop (10 x 12) and I am wondering when they can start to free range. I live on about 5 acres and since I don't have any older chickens to show them around I am wondering if they will get lost. Is it ok to let them out now? We are working on getting their run finished but it is taking forever.
    Thank You!
  2. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2009
    Holland, Massachusetts
    we let our chicks free range after three weeks but for the first couple of weeks they were constantly supervised to show them where to go and not go. if you do not have that time to watch them endlessly during the day I would start with just a few hours each day until you see them obeying the boundries. you basically have too be a surrogate hen and show them where to go and not go. If your range area is fenced off this will be much easier. hope this helps.
  3. wannabe_goatmom

    wannabe_goatmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Wellington KY
    My area is not fenced in. I am afraid that they won't come back to me. Should I just sit with the door to the coop open and maybe sit in the doorway?
    I'm scared to let them out but I know it will be great for them to stretch their legs.
    Thanks for the advice. [​IMG]
  4. patricium

    patricium Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2009
    Western New York
    My eight are now about 8 weeks old, and I don't have any older chickens either. This week we just started letting them free range for a couple hours each day. They really love being able to run around. They have been living in their outdoor coop fulltime for about 10 days, and they seem to recognize that it's home. When they're out, I check in on them every few minutes to make sure they're not getting too far afield. So far, they've stuck pretty close to the coop - within about 40 feet or so. We have a lot of open space in our lawn next to the coop, and they really don't want to venture out into the open spaces. This tends to keep them from wandering far. They really like to hang out under the pine tree (also under the cars, unfortunately). They're relatively easy to round up at dusk - we just herd them toward the coop door, and tuck the stragglers in.

    If you let them out, keep an eye on them periodically. They may decide to stick close to home. If they're people-oriented, it shouldn't be too hard to collect them when it's time for bed. You can always resort to luring them back with treats. If you work on getting them trained to come running for treats when you call, that will help you feel more in control while they're out wandering.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  5. pixie74943

    pixie74943 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2009
    Adelaide, Australia
    Start by letting them out at night. Well not night night, but about half hour to an hour before sunset. They'll almost be ready to go to bed, and then get excited about the newness, and have enough time for a peck around, but before they get time to run off, they'll be thinking about their nice comfy roosts. That should be enough to help them distinguish home from not home. If anyone tries to sleep outside the coop, pick them up and bring them in.

    Once their all going back to bed (shouldnt take more than a couple of days) let them out earlier and earlier.

    And you should probably have some kind of enclosed run so that they can get out and enjoy the sunshine while your ot there to watch them and protect them from predators and such.

    Oh and unless its mid winter where you are (pretty sure none of the world is suffering winter now, but hey, weather is crazy) 7weeks is plenty old enough [​IMG]
  6. Mrs Chickens

    Mrs Chickens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Ive got two home grown chicks they are 4 weeks old tomorrow have been allowing them to "free range" in a large run since they were 3weeks.

    I only let them out when the weather is good for a few hours & they love it - they praticlly beg for me to let them out now.

    I still won't let them right out as we have birds of prey, magpies and also full grown chciken's which could be messy. But I believe it a good pratice to harden them off and get them being natral.

    If you have any spare wire/ dog cage let them out in that for a while near where you can see them - as they are so much fun to watch and you can check they are not too cold or hot. After 3 weeks I'm going to open my pen up so they can wander in & out but under strick supervision. My chciks do think I am there Mum so it will proberly be easy's

    Good luck and happy chickens to you
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If they have been in the coop for some days, they will most likely have no problem finding where to go at night. And they will enjoy being allowed to roam so much that you might find it hard to confine them to a run.

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