When can they go out to play (forage)?

coop-er

Songster
7 Years
Nov 28, 2012
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I have 5 young ones-4-7 weeks old. They have been in my coop for the past 2 weeks. I have one 6 month old RIR who is out daily to free range for a few hours- she is in a separate part of the coop and can see/interact with the younger ones but they do not inhabit the same part of the coop. When can I let the younger 5 chicks out to forage and spend time in the yard with my RIR? I want to do this right and avoid any problems with these girls. Thank you for any help you can offer.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
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South Georgia
There will be some squabbling to establish pecking order no matter when you do it. It seems to be less if they've had a few weeks to watch each other without being able to get at each other. However, most people let them all get the same age/size before they do it. You can try it before then, but I'd sure watch closely.
 

coop-er

Songster
7 Years
Nov 28, 2012
371
33
129
Thank you, that is helpful. When can I let the small ones out to forage and be sure they won't "run away" or get lost?. We have 20+ acres of corn next to the coop and if they wander in there they would have to be able to come back out on their own..... I doubt we would be able to find them.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
600
448
South Georgia
You could train your chicks to come when called, put scratch grains in a coffee can shake and call chick, chick, chick and throw them some treats pretty soon they will come running every time they see you.

This is very good advice! It's nearly impossible to round up chickens, but not difficult at all to train them to come when called.
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
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SE Pa.
Growing up on the farm the pullets were left to wander and often they had a corn field next to their coop. Never knew one to get lost and die of starvation.
 

coop-er

Songster
7 Years
Nov 28, 2012
371
33
129
Growing up on the farm the pullets were left to wander and often they had a corn field next to their coop. Never knew one to get lost and die of starvation.

How old were they when they were out? Were they with a hen? I am ready to let them out and I think they are more than ready to roam- just don't want to end up with trouble getting them back in.

I will work on the treat idea-sounds like a good trick!
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
Hatchery chicks, no mom. If I remember right they were around eight weeks. If they have imprinted on the coop as home they will return. since they have been out there for two weeks they have done so. You could leave them out in the evening at first, so they won't wander far. That will let them get to know the area. You also won't have to yell as loud for them to hear you when you call them for treats.
 

coop-er

Songster
7 Years
Nov 28, 2012
371
33
129
Thanks! I appreciate the info-I'm just a little leary-lost most of my girls this year and am fond of my new flock and want them to be safe.
 

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