When can they range?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chantald, May 24, 2008.

  1. chantald

    chantald Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, the coop is done, the run is Fort Knox and the chicks are getting big.. 6 weeks and 4 weeks old.. The big ones are itching for some more freedom. When can they be "turned loose" in the back yard/woods? The woods are heavily wooded.. I hope that it helps offer some cover from hawks..

    Also, when can the door to the run be left open at night? The run has hardware cloth, poultry staples and uprights set into concrete. The wire is buried 8 inches down all the way around and the top is covered too...
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    How long have they actually been in that coop? They need to know that that is where 'home' is so they come back to roost there every night. I would make sure they've been locked in there for at least a week before letting them free range.

    Now, personally, I wouldn't let mine free range without me being there until they were much older. I don't think they quite have the predator thing figured out at that young age. However, lots of people start free ranging their's around that same age (six weeks) and have no issues. So, you need to decide if you are comfortable with it.

    It certainly sounds like you truly have the Ft. Knox of coops - good for you!!

    Again, even with your coop I'd be afraid of predators getting in at night (Don't know how they would with the hardware cloth and all ... I just couldn't stand the thought of losing any of my girls). Do you have a lot of predators in your area? I know people here that leave their coop doors open all night and, again, it's got to be a personal decision. If you are absolute about it being 100% predator proof then go ahead. (And, it certainly sounds like it is.)

    Good luck and let us know how things go over the next few months.
     
  3. KellyGwen

    KellyGwen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a question about this too... I have 3-4 week old babies that will have to move out of the brooder (which is in the coop) and into the main part of the coop (which is currently occupied by only one very mellow polish hen) to make room for more babies that are coming around June 2nd.

    I have a run that is covered and has a 2 foot border of semi buried 1 inch chicken wire... If I let my babies out into it will they come home to roost or will I have to chase them in at night... and how old should they be before I let them out at all? (They are mostly standard chickens with one silkie (2 more tiny silkies are in a separate brooder)

    Thanks!!
     
  4. chantald

    chantald Chillin' With My Peeps

    They have been living in the coop & run for about 3 weeks now, maybe 4 weeks.. (the big ones a week longer than the little ones). DH says a bear would have a hard time breaking into the run and we also made sure to weasel proof it too, no little holes or cracks. It is very sturdy.. I can attest.. I got locked in it just the other night and had to sit there until my DH wondered what was taking me so long to come in.. [​IMG][​IMG]

    re chicken wire... chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in.. not much else out.. that is what I was told.. so we used hardware cloth instead..

    We let the chicks into the run when they were about 3 weeks old.. I just made sure the door was secured open so if they got cold, they could go back into the coop to sit under the lamp. Once I was sure they could do that, they were allowed free access to their run instead of being shut in the coop. Currently, I still go out at dusk and shoo them in from the run.. they hate that..and since i can't get out there to let them out into their run until 9:30/10 am.. they are often itching to get out in the am too..
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    chantald - your's definitely know where home is so you should be fine.

    kellygwen - someone with more experience than I have needs to jump in here to help you. I think that is too young but I know that others regularly let them out at that age.
     
  6. newchik

    newchik Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2007
    I am certainly no expert. My chicks are with their Momma, and they were cordoned off in the regular pen from the other chickens.

    About a week ago, I opened the door to their secluded area and watched to see what happened. The chicks all stayed with Momma hen, and none of the other chickens (including roo) cared at all about them.

    I actually have two hens that share the raising of these chicks - one is sort of a Nanny. The chicks will spend all day with either hen, but usually sleep with the real Momma.

    Yesterday I noticed that Momma had taken them into the run with her, and they were very fine. Today I let the other chickens out to range and figured that if Momma took them out, they were ready. They are there now, still tagging with Momma and fine. She has only gone about 5 feet from the run itself, doesn't seem to be to interested in taking the chicks up the hill. I figure she knows best and I am quite certain that nature knows better than I do.
     
  7. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Newchik - how old are these chicks that are with Momma?
     
  8. chantald

    chantald Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. newchik

    newchik Out Of The Brooder

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    The chicks hatched 5/8. They are... 16 days old?
     
  10. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    newchik - Thanks. I've got my first Broody sitting on eggs right now, due to hatch in one week. That's good info for me as I didn't know when I'd try to reintroduce her to the flock if she does have babies.
     

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