When to let Hens free range?

wkuhlman

In the Brooder
Mar 19, 2017
2
0
10
My hens are right around 10 weeks old. They have been in their coop/run for about 4 weeks. When is it okay to let them out to free range a little? I only plan on doing this supervised in the evening before dusk. I am afraid if I do this too early they won't come back in and I certainly do not want to leave them free all night. Thank you!
 

Mylied

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 12, 2012
3,507
5,770
492
Middle Georgia
Where I live, never. The hawks are out of control. They will swoop down even when I'm out. So they are in covered runs full time. I wish I could free range them, but it's not worth the trouble. And when it's not the hawks, it's the stray dogs, the opossums, the raccoons, and a couple of my pigs if they get in the pig pen.
 

jojorose8

Chirping
Apr 17, 2017
73
27
86
Chelsea, VT
I think it depends on where you
live and your comfort level. I let my 6 week olds free range whenever I'm home and check on them every now and then. They don't leave my lawn. Do you have a lot of predators or dogs off leash? Will they return to the coop at night? Ideally, they will return to the coop just before sunset.
 

6hensJen

Chirping
Apr 4, 2017
40
24
69
Oregon, USA
I let mine free range at 10 weeks supervised in an enclosed backyard (100'x100') I Trained them to come running by shaking a bag of dried mealworms (they go nuts for them but be sparing) and shouting "chook chooks!" Now they come running whenever I just call them, wherever they are. Mine are 15 weeks and they love being out!
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
2,358
3,954
396
SE PA
Exactly what 6hens said. Mine go nuts for meal worms also. All I have to do is shake the bag or call them now and they come running. I throw a few meal worms in the coop and shut the door. Mine are 14 weeks now but started about 10 weeks old. I let them free range in the yard when I'm home.
 

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