When Can I Let Them Free Range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sam2, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Sam2

    Sam2 New Egg

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    Jan 27, 2015
    Hi,
    I brought my first three chickens home last Sunday, since then they have been in there run and taking themselves to bed every night, earlier today I introduced a new hen who the others were already familiar with from their last home, she followed them to bed tonight. I am wanting to let them free range around the garden when I am at home so I was wondering how much longer I would have to wait before I could do this?, and also if they will stick together when they are out or not?
    Thank you
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should be able to do it now. If you want to test it out, release them an hour or so before they normally put themselves to bed. I'm 99.9% positive they'll dutifully troop right up at their self-appointed time.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Most people with new chickens have a fear of not being able to round them up when they need to put them back in the run or coop. It's easy to train chickens to come to you by using a container that has treats or scratch grain in it, and use this same container every time you hand out treats. In no time at all, they learn to come running when they see the container.

    Your chickens have imprinted on their coop by now and it represents home and safety to them. Have no fear. They will always return to it at sundown or if they need to feel safe. Most chickens that free range, enjoy returning to the coop or run to enjoy the feeling of cover. While they all enjoy free ranging, it is stressful to a degree because they have to constantly be alert to dangers, especially from the sky. They'll want to have some sort of cover handy to relax under from time to time.
     
  4. Sam2

    Sam2 New Egg

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    Jan 27, 2015
    Thank you for your replies, do you think that even the new chicken will return to the coop?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good advice above about 'training' and starting free range an hour before sunset.

    I'd wait until the newest chicken has been there for a few days at least and that there are no squabbles.
    The chickens doesn't usually remember a 'chicken from their last home'....they are new invaders and may bully the newbie.
     
  6. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep. One the weekends when I'm home all day and I let them out in the morning, they often spend a good deal of time in a cuddle pile inside the covered run.
     
  7. IttyBiddyRedHen

    IttyBiddyRedHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I try to wait till the hens start laying in the nest boxes...before they get their free range training. Then, they WANT to come back to the coop. I also use scratch and the evening feed as their training tools, to get them rounded all back up. Sometimes, I have to chase a newbie to get them back into the run. They usually hang out with the big girls though, and learn from them.
    I have to watch for the hawks and neighborhood dogs here for predators. So in the morning, I don't let them out till after 8am. Then, they get let out to free range after noon......till 430 or 5pm. They are ready to go back to the coop by then.
     

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