When chicks escape...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Hope119, May 29, 2010.

  1. Hope119

    Hope119 Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    When (for different reasons) chicks escape the fenced area they are in, would you rather let them totally free-range or catch them and put back? I am not that afraid of predators at the moment, but can't decide what is worse - let them going through the stress of me catching them and putting back, or leaving those who escape roam free, but then the others are near the fence looking at them and peeping, worrying.
    The chicks were born around April 23rd. Last couple of days we were letting them out of the fence around 7pm anyways.
  2. WingingIt

    WingingIt Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    At that age I'd try to catch them and have them secure at night. How many got out? Good luck!
  3. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    I think its fairly important that your pets come to you when you call them. With chickens, food is the best choice and a 'call'. Your call can be a clicker or some saying that you ALWAYS say when you want them to come running. When I want mine back in the coop, I mash up a boiled egg in the same little dish each time (I think they recognize the dish, too) and say "chick, chick, chickens!" No chicken chasing at our house, they come running....
  4. Miss Red

    Miss Red Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    Trinity, Texas
    My chicks come running when they see me with the purple feed scoop, even if I don't call. They know it has feed or treats everytime.
  5. Hope119

    Hope119 Songster

    Apr 23, 2009
    well, at night they always come back, that is why we let them completely out around 7pm. If they escape during the day... different numbers escape... today it was just 6. I let them walk for some time and caught them back when saw them back near the fence, probably less than an hour later. Often there were more then just 6 escaping. Well... I think they might now fly over the fence too - when I let them out today, one saw others running away and she just flew over the fence instead of going through the "door".

    Thanks for the treat advice! They actually start to react more to me calling them (when I bring a treat), but not all of them run towards me yet. The reminder of an boiled egg is helpful - I should use that to train them more. They also go crazy for apples.

    The chickens for dummies book advises not to free-range (only in fenced areas) them before they are in good laying pattern (which for us would be in October). Does anyone here free-range chicks? (before they are big enough to lay... mine are a bit over 1 month old)

  6. brodavid77

    brodavid77 In the Brooder

    May 7, 2009
    We just walk to the feed container and they come running. If my daughter picks up her bucket to get fresh greens for them , they climb all over themselves to be first.
  7. Horsea

    Horsea In the Brooder

    Jul 5, 2008
    Quote:Hi. My 2nd post.

    I don't think chicks should be let out of a super-safe and -secure place until they are as big as dogs. I learned my lesson 2 years ago when on a gorgeous August afternoon I thought I would let my ten 2-month old exotics out just for some "freedom" and a change of scene. Yah, right. They were wandering around right in our yard smack in front of the living room window at one moment; 15 minutes later 8 were missing and 2 barely alive hiding in the grass. [​IMG] Never again. By the way, I don't know what took them. I did find a couple of bodies but the rest were gone with the wind.
  8. oreochip

    oreochip In the Brooder

    Jan 25, 2010
    Fort Worth
    Our girls are 5 months and have free range rights for one hour each evening. They are in a secure back yard and wings clipped so that they cannot fly over the fence. We sit on the porch and supervise. They love cheese and recognize the bag. When time to return to the coop we shake the bag and throw in a sprinkling of shredded cheese. They fall all over each other to see who will get to the coop first.

    One night they stayed out until after dark and when I tried to find them (in a panic) they were already cuddled in the coop.

    We just love the entertainment [​IMG]
  9. HappyTalons

    HappyTalons In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2010
    We have four 5+ month olds that we are keeping in the coop. We let them out for a good portion of the day, but they have a fenced yard and being in the suburbs means we really only have to worry about hawks or the neighbor's dog. Generally we keep them supervised, though during the heat of the day we sometimes just check on them every so often. They really like to hide under our deck and in some of our tall plants in the flower beds (and amazingly they really only like the clover that's a weed everywhere). They will generally hide when spooked by something (they really don't like low flying airplanes) and dislike being out in the open.

    They are "trained" enough that they will "coop themselves" at about 7 pm every night even going up to their high roosts inside on their own. I'd definitely make sure your birds are secure at night, as the others suggested, treats are the way to go. [​IMG]
  10. EatonsatCantas

    EatonsatCantas In the Brooder

    "Does anyone here free-range chicks? (before they are big enough to lay... mine are a bit over 1 month old)"

    Our chickens are all completely free range. We had 10 chicks hatch th 13th May and they have been out with mum since they were about 5-6 days old. We just left it to her to decide when to take them out of the enclosure. I had to put little board ramps at the entrance as there is a board across it at the bottom. We have lost one chick but it was very small and always lagging behind. A few days ago we found it by itself all listless with a huge hard turd on its butt! We gently washed it off and wropped it in a towel to dry and keep warm and fed it some honey water (not knowing what else to do as we have little experience). After lunch it was up and about normally and running with the others and eating fine. But in the evening when all were gathering to come back in the little thing had disappeared. Have NO clue what happened to it but think it is just nature's way of culling the weak.

    We have lost others before to foxes but all in all free ranging has been very successful for us. No rstrictions on their range at all. They stick close to the house and hanger. The only thing we have done is erect a fence around the veggie garden to keep them out of there.

    I understand wht people keep their chickens cooped up - many circumstances require it. But if you have the space I cannot understand why one would not want free range birds. They all certainly seem very content and healthy and happy and the eggs are really quite good!

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