When can they be let out to free range?

Mr Grandcanyon

In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 14, 2010
St. Johns, AZ
Greetings from N.E. Arizona..

I finally moved my FLOCK! from Flagstaff to St. Johns. They sat quietly in their boxes cluking softly occasionally They have taken to their new home. They got here Monday evening and today (Wednesday) I even got an EGG!!! So someone must be happy.

The FLOCK! is 1 rooster (Samson) and 4 pullets (Eve, Jezebell, Delilah, and Rebekah) . Today they made a "dust bath" .....

My question is: How many days before I can let them out to free range? They seem very contented. They go inside at night. Samson wakes me up:(

I live on 39 acres and it is range fenced (to keep cows out). How do I get them used to being FREE! and not have them take to the hills! Water is scarce here so I feel like they will come back to their pen when they get thirsty...

Any suggestions?

Mr. Grandcanyon
I was letting my guys free range pretty much right away thinking that the coop was not far from the brooder and they would stay close, but they actually disappeared on me one night. We left them completely in the coop and run for a couple of weeks and now when I let them out to free range, they roam around my yard, but always in sight of the coop. I haven't had any problems since. I've heard others say to leave them in their own coop for a couple of weeks to "imprint" them on it, then they should be all set, and it seems to have worked great for us.

Oh and
from another fairly new person.
When do you want to let them out to range freely?

Just to be on the safe side (because that's just how I am) I would wait two weeks just to make absolutely sure they already know their coop is where they spend the night, every night. Then open up that run gate and stand back!
No, really... they probably will be very cautious exploring outside their run for a few days. They will gradually increase their roaming area. But if they've habitually returned to the coop every night for a couple of weeks, then they will most likely do the same later.

You might have to help them find the run gate to get back in, though, for a while. It seems chickens are silly birds and can run right past a gate and not even realize if they just come back a ways, they'll find it again.
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Thanks for the advice friends....

One reason I think they will come home for sure is.... home is where the water is! This is high desert here and once out, they will not find anything to drink nearby.

I guess I'll wait longer..... I can hardly wait to see them in all their beauty out from under the fence that covers their run....

Mr. GC

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