When should I let my new chickens out of the coop for the first time?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mycheekyangel, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. mycheekyangel

    mycheekyangel Hatching

    Aug 8, 2009

    I've just bought 3 Isa Brown pullets.

    I'm just wondering how long I should keep the new chickens in their coop, so when I let them out into the garden, they know to go back into it at night.

    It's been years since I've had chickens, but I seem to remember having to go and find them in the bushes for a while, until they got to know their sleeping quarters.

    Also, they don't seem to be getting on their perch. Should I physically put them on the perch a few times or will they learn themselves?

    Thanking you.
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I think about a week of being locked in the coop is enough time for them to consider the coop home and expect them to return to it at dusk.
    Don't worry about the roosts. They'll figure them out on their own.
    Welcome to BYC!
  3. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    3-4 days wouldn't hurt... and I set mine on the perch when I put them in at first, although it was almost dark when they were put in the coop the first time.
  4. annek

    annek Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    I kept mine in their coop and enclosed run for 2 weeks before I let them free range. They always return at night. I put up a few perches at different heights and they wouldn't use any of them. They insisted on perching up at the roof peak on top of the wall which is screened to the outside. I finally had to put a 2x4 across the ceiling to get them to stop nesting and pooping down the wall, plus 10 birds in a 3' span does not work. I had to place them on the 2x4 for the first few nights.
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    The first few times out, try them real close to sunset.

    They may not venture more than a few feet from their door but that's good. They will be learning to come out and then return on their own.

    You may find that doing this as a late-in-the-day adventure is easier on you. Chasing after chickens in the neighbor's yard and trees won't be much fun. Herding chickens is both an art and a science.

  6. Ravenseye

    Ravenseye In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2008
    Pepperell, MA
    Mine stayed put for three days. Then, I let them out. They wandered near and far but kept coming back to where they started fairly frequently. As the sun went down, I left a light on for them. After that first day of wandering, they were great...in fact, they wandered too far making me realize how funny herding them must have looked. The poodles we have got them back home real quick!
  7. Red

    Red Songster

    Mar 17, 2007
    I think we kept our girls confined to their run for a week before letting them out, and they've always been really good about coming back when it begins to get dark.

    As for getting them to sleep on their perches, you can try lifting them up there to see if that helps, and just keep doing it night after night. One of our girls just simply refuses to sleep on a perch (she's seven years old now and rarely sleeps up there), so we just leave her to sleep on the floor underneath the others [​IMG]

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