when to let new chicks fee range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sueandthe6, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. sueandthe6

    sueandthe6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2014
    southeast Pa
    I have two cochin chicks (unsure yet if pullets or roos) that I finally merged with my laying girls last night. The chicks are only 10 weeks but I don't have room inside and no electric outside so I did the crate inside the run for two weeks thing, did allow them some supervised together time twice, then last night after the girls had gone to bed, I scooped up the babies from their little makeshift shelter and dumped them into the coop. Closed it up which I have never done but wanted them to stay put- and crossed my fingers. This am early- I opened up the coop and went to bed (work overnight). When I got up at noon everyone seemed ok. The babies were staying together but not being harassed at all. I just went out now with some corn muffins and grapes and everyone came running. The babies were a bit jumpy and the big girls were a little pushy but not bad at all. However, my big concern now is when to trust them to come back. I free range my girls maybe three times a week for a few hours each time and they obviously are quite used to the routine. They also are not spooky. The babies are because I didn't get to handle them much. I don't need to snuggle my chickens but I don't want them to bolt when I walk by and they are still a bit jumpy at this point. I am nervous that they wont come back in with everyone else. Also will they follow the big girls into the coop to go to bed? I don't know if they can get to the roost, but at least its warmer in there. That was the main reason I finally took the plunge... its been right around freezing the last few nights and I was nervous for their well-being. I am going to up the "the goodie visits" to twice a day(usually its only every other and then a small snack to bring them in), but will they simply follow the bigger girls as far as being not so nervous around me, and heading for the coop when its time to go to bed? Ugggg....so never doing chicks again LOL
  2. vpatt

    vpatt Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'll be watching to see responses to your question. I just put some eggs under one of my hens and if they hatch I will be asking the same questions.
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Provided you have enough room in your coop, and it's dry and well-ventilated, I don't see why they won't come back in. I mean, what are their options? Out alone with predators or in a secure coop with other chickens? The only time we had chickens not want to come back in is when they out-grew their mini-coop and we weren't yet ready to integrate them in the large coop. But they roosted right on top of the mini-coop, so it's not like they ran off somewhere. I know some breeds are known for preferring to roost in trees, but perhaps we don't have those breeds, because they've never done that, with several trees around.

    Since you've already let them (I assume today), I guess you'll know soon if they will come back in. Some folks will keep the whole flock locked up for a few days to a couple weeks when introducing new birds to teach them where "home" is. We've done it for I think 2-3 days, not sure if it was necessary, though.
  4. sueandthe6

    sueandthe6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2014
    southeast Pa
    I didn't let them out today. Sundays are an easier day for me- only work one job in the days time instead of two so it usually is a day I let the girls out but I didn't specifically because of the youngsters. The actual coop is 5 x 5 with a sloped roof that is 5 ft at the peak. It is attached to a run made of chain link that is cant even guess the square footage of. It is one 5 ft long panel and I think 7 or 8 10 footers. It isn't square though- its squared off at the end with the coop= but then the pieces are set up based on some slight hills and valleys in the ground so as to keep less space between the bottom of the chain link panel and the ground. I have no doubt the run space is plenty for them- and think the coop is too-just wasn't sure they would reason like the older girls (and you do) "alone with predators vs company of chickens". Hoping they will- but if the girls bullied them to much during the day-didn't seem so to me though- they might not choose the company of other chickens. WIll check on them before I go to work and hope they are inside. TY for the info.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I think after a few days of being with the older chickens, and all is going well - they are not being harassed too much and are going into the coop at night, you could let them out to range.

    Might start with just an hour or so before sunset, they won't range far and you can watch their behavior to see if they'll go back in. Next time let them out a bit earlier..... and so on and so on.

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