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When to let go???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dogdollar, May 31, 2010.

  1. dogdollar

    dogdollar Songster

    May 19, 2010
    I have spent some time building a coop and a small run, and have also acquired my flock.......four barred rocks, five production reds, and a dominicker rooster.
    Right now they are all hanging out in the run...it is 6' x 4' x 3' tall, and, as you would expect, they area little cramped and it really needs a thorough mucking out every two or three days to stay anywhere near clean. I HAVE learned that laying down some grass clippings with some diatomaceous earth sprinkled in helps it stay smell-and-fly free quite a bit longer.
    Anyway, it occurs to me that these chickens would be infinitely happier if they could free range, but I don't know what to expect that first time I let them out. I am no spring chicken myself and can't imagine having to chase them down to get them back in the run if I have to go somewhere and don't want to leave them unattended.
    So....what do you suggest? My main concern is if I can let them out for, say, a couple of hours or so, and then expect to round them all up if I have to leave?
    And what if it gets dark and they haven't all come back?
    I know, I know....I guess you have to "let go" at some point and just accept that it is what it is, I was just hoping to hear from someone who had experienced this anxiety and how it turned out.

  2. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Honestly if they have been in the coop and run for more the a few weeks, chances are they will put thmselves to bed at night...As long as the door is open all of my chickens will start heading in just as the sun goes down below the horizon....
  3. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    They will likely come back to the run or coop when it starts to get dark, they will want to go sleep where they are used to sleeping. You could use treats to entice them if you needed to for a few days if they don't go back to the coop on their own. Now...getting them to go back to the coop before bedtime...good luck with that! Again, feed may work. If I want to put mine up before they go back on their own, I just tap on the metal feeder and call them (which I do whenever I put feed out) and one of them will come running to see what they are missing...as soon as one starts to come, they all come. They are so nosy! [​IMG]
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Oh, I am so familiar with that "let go???" sensation! It was MONTHS before I felt I could let mine free range - while I'm at home!

    I have finally made little trips to the grocery, or to Lowe's, or the post office, leaving them out whilst I'm on my little jaunts. *biting fingernails* They've been just fine. Mine don't go out of my large back yard. Yet. [​IMG]

    If they've been sleeping in the coop for a couple of weeks, they will go back there at dusk. Because I'm a wuss about such things, I wouldn't take any little trips in the interim until the first few times you know they'll be safe.

    You might try just letting them free range a couple of hours in the late afternoon, until dusk, so their first sessions out are successful "back in" tests, before you start letting them free range all day. Just my originally nervous opinion.
  5. poodlepill

    poodlepill Songster

    Feb 27, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    I have to go into my coop and chase all 31 of them OUT in the morning.

    I have to keep the door shut or they'd stay in there all day and eat the chicken food instead of the bugs and stuff I want them to eat outside. Then if I go anywhere near the coop door during the day or heaven forbid I open the door and go in they come running and I'm fighting back chickens LOL

    If your chickens have been out free ranging all day when its evening they will want to get a bite to eat of chicken food in the coop and roost.

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