When to begin free ranging new birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lilmstw72, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. lilmstw72

    lilmstw72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2010
    Mid-Michigan
    I added 2 17 week old Jersey giants and 1 2 year old EE last Saturday to my current small flock of lt. brahmas. When can I start free ranging the new girls in my back yard. My yard isn't fenced but we have a little over an acre and my brahmas stay within the boundries pretty well. I'm just afraid the others may wander off and not 'round' up as well when I try to get them back in their coop area. My jersey giants are very nervous still and I thought maybe a little time outside the coop would help them out. As far as I know they were not free ranged at all at their previous owners. She had a very nice fenced in run area.
     
  2. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    When I moved my 12 girls out to my 1/3 acre back yard, my father in law advised me to fence in a 20' area around the coop and keep it in place for 3 weeks. He said by the end of that time the chickens would ALWAYS go back to roost in the coop and would never stray farther away than they could see the coop. He was absolutely right. I took down that fence after 3 weeks and it's been great.

    However, I did enclose the entire 1/3 acre area with a 2' high green rabbit fencing because occasionally they'd get adventurous and wander out in front of the house. They always came back to the coop at night, but I didn't want them wandering out to the road or gobbling my impatiens and hostas in front. I thought the 2' high fencing wouldn't keep them in, but oddly enough it's great. Somehow they can't see the green fencing until they get right up to it, and then they're too big to fly over it 'cause their wings are clipped.

    Another thing is you're adding chickens to an existing flock. The new birds will probably stay right with the existing ones and come back with the flock to the coop. Herd mentality.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  3. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Well the flock mentality only works once they become part of the flock. Waite a few weeks for that. If you let them out to soon they are going to head back home, their old home. After a few weeks then let them free range with the flock.

    I like the temporary fenced area when you don't have a fenced yard. Or even the short fence to remind them of the boundaries.

    Wouldn't work with my girls though. An 8 foot fence around the garden doesn't work for mine. Obviously, I don't clip wings. But mine have seen dogs and other predators on the otherside of the property line fences and they don't go near those fences.
     
  4. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Are you putting them with your current flock? If so, did you quarantine them? I kept mine in their quarantine coop for 30 days then snuck them in the big coop one night while everyone was sleeping. I kept them in the chicken yard not free-ranging for about a week, after that they were fine, never had a problem with them going in the big coop. They seemed to know where home is. [​IMG] Plus it helps the feed and water is inside the big coop. [​IMG]
     
  5. lilmstw72

    lilmstw72 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 4, 2010
    Mid-Michigan
    I didn't have the space to quarantine but did purchase from a VERY clean seller. She's actually a moderator on here. I felt very comfortable that her birds are in good health. The JGs are just so timid, not sure if they will outgrow that or not. I'm still waiting for the 'pecking order' to get worked out among the group.

    Thanks for the good tips. We did expand our run area yesterday to give them another 40sq ft and I added another feeder and waterer. Seems to be better already.
     
  6. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    IMO, I wouldn't let them free-range for at least a couple weeks, especially if the are scaredy cats. I would let them get the pecking order down, and get comfy first. [​IMG]
     
  7. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Wales
    I keep newcomers behind chicken wire but fenced in for a couple of weeks so the rest of the mob get used to them (Brahmas, Warrens, Naked Necks etc) and to quarantine them. I then let them out with the others.

    Chicks I have hatched and with mum come out at about 6 weeks of age.

    This works for me, but we are in the middle of a plot of land and the road is about 200 yards away.

    Sandie
     

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