When to let a new hen free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MellyHooHoo, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. MellyHooHoo

    MellyHooHoo In the Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2017
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    Hi! I recently adopted an adult hen that was a bit of an escape artist in the city. We have plenty of room out here and my 6 birds free range. I am her 4th home as homes 2 and 3 were small flocks that pecked the heck out of her. My girls are not yet laying and they have no problem with her. I have her cooped and have most of them in with her. When can I let her out to range with the flock?
     
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Songster

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    When I’ve added adults to the existing flock, they started free ranging the next morning with everybody else. And usually they had never free ranged before! They may linger outside a little longer the first couple nights, but still always went back in the coop without help from us.
     
    MellyHooHoo likes this.
  3. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I think you need to be careful when adding chickens to an existing flock/tribe.
    I quarantine all new arrivals for at least two weeks and that is probably not long enough.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Especially since this hen has already been in 3 other flocks: Three times as much risk of her bringing disease to your flock. All that being said, what's done is done. Move forward. Since she has a history of having a bad case of "wanderlust", you might want to keep her cooped for a few days. And you might want to clip one wing. Then, if she's bonded with the buddies you have with her, she should follow their lead. Is your yard safe, without neighbors (with dogs) near by? When you let her out, at first, do so close to roost time, then increase the time a bit each day till she has proven herself to be trustworthy.
     
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  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    In the mean time, work on training her with some scratch grain. And when you let her out the first time, make sure she's a bit hungry so she'll return to coop/run when you call her and offer the grain. A flock should be trained to come when called if you intend to let them free range.
     
    aart likes this.

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