When can I let them out to free range & get them to go back in the coo

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nuggets, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Nuggets

    Nuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2011
    Maine
    Hi,

    I am new here. 1st time chicken guy. We have 2 rocks, 2 aracaunas, 2 golden Wyndolettes, and 2 buff orphingtons.
    We got them just hacked from a local feed store in April/May so they are about 4 months old. They have been outside now for 2 months in a coop and love it. My question is when can I start letting them out to roam? are they old enough? I have 8 acres of field that I live on and they are very safe - they would only be out when we are home.
    How to I get them to go back inside the coop? when it is time for bed? Will they go in themselves? I am just reluctant to let them out and then spend hours trying to get them to go back in. Any advice would be very helpful.
     
  2. chi-rn

    chi-rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2011
    If they've already been in their coop for 2 months, they know it's home. Around dusk, they'll find their way home. I wouldn't be too comfortable about predators though. They know a free meal when they see one, and you will have to deal with them sooner or later....
     
  3. chickensbythesea

    chickensbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Free ranging runs the risk of predators, but it's a risk a lot of us are willing to take, and it doesn't always end terribly.

    You can let them out as early as sun-up, but I personally wait about 30-45 minutes, since I occasionally see coyotes at dawn when I walk the property. They start out near the coop and slowly work their way out. When it's getting to dusk, they'll go to bed on their own. If you want them to go before then, usually you can lure them with treats, or if they're hand tame, you can carry them (but that is a pain if there's a lot). I have always been able to either bribe or herd mine without problem, but they go into a full sized door. In a small pop-door, I don't know if you'd have more difficulty.
     
  4. LovinChicknFarmn

    LovinChicknFarmn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2011
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    We bribe ours back in with treats when they won't head that way when we "herd them." Once you've trained them a little they'll know what to do. We can call ours and they come running towards the coop. Then we throw a few pieces of scraps in and they head right in. Sometimes one doesn't want to cooperate and you have to herd it back in.
     
  5. navychick

    navychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Quote:We finished our coop/run this weekend. We confined the girls to the coop for the first day and today let them into the run. They really enjoyed themselves. How long should we keep them in the run before we let them in the yard to free range?
     
  6. palmettogroves

    palmettogroves Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2011
    Brazoria, TX
    You guys have some really good ideas. Ours will be a week old on Wednesday and this past Sunday we put them out in a little circle of chicken wire to get some sun. Once they figured out what grass was, they had a really good time. We are working on a chicken tractor which they will be able to hang out in during the day and go back into at night. Since it's 165 degrees during the day, they won't freeze. Just have to keep them in the shade and watered. No free-ranging for a while for them but we will definitely stick to this topic when we do.

    I will be sure and post pictures of the tractor once it's complete.

    Peace...
     
  7. Nuggets

    Nuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2011
    Maine
    Thank you all for the info. Yes I was hoping it would be that easy. They seem to have favorite treats already - love those meal worms. They also seem to love left over cooked plain Jasmine rice - they go nuts over it. Also I hooked up some solar holiday lights in their outside tractor/run that I have on a timer. the lights comes on at dusk for only a few hours and they are not brite enough to annoy them- it attracts the bugs and they run around chasing and eating all the bugs that come to the lights - FREE FOOD.
    I love my girls. I am thinking about getting a ton more of the aracuanas next year. I have the tufted ones that look like they have the mustache - they seem to be the bosses of my roost. I got another tip about allowing them out about an hour before dusk with the idea they will go back in teh coop on their own when it starts getting dark...
    Thoughts........?
     
  8. Nuggets

    Nuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2011
    Maine
    Another thought also, Half of my neighbors also have chickens and they are all free range - they all come to my yard all day long to feed in my fields - they seem to be aggressive towards my little ones who fluff up against the coop to try to be tough. Will these visitors create a problem for my girls?
     
  9. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 27, 2010
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    Mine have been free ranging since they were 7 weeks old, I have over 300 acres, they never go very far, and every evening they make their way back into the coop.
    The neighbors chickens, well, they aren't apart of your pecking order/flock...I would imagine yours will be fine, the others will eventually make their way back home...of course I have NO experience with this, maybe someone else can help...just my opinion here....
     
  10. Nuggets

    Nuggets Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2011
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    OK, so I sat them down and had a talk with them and explained they can get a get out of jail free card this weekend but they must come home at sun down LOL. I can see me now walking around the property with a flashlight looking for them LMAO.
     

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