Will free range chickens know how to get back to coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by michiganer, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. michiganer

    michiganer Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2008
    Saint Cloud FL
    Hello, I was wondering if you let chickens out to free range outside of the run, will they run away or will they go back to the coop at night? My childhood summers were spent on a farm but all of the new chickens there could follow the lead of the other chickens and would go back to the coop at night. I am afraid that when I get my chickens, they won't know what to do....
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    If they have been locked up for several weeks in the coop they shoud go back near dark. You may have to go out and roud them up until they learn to go to roost in the coop and not in random trees etc.
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    once they know their coop is home they will go back to it every night at dusk...but, you have to keep them confined to the coop for a week or 2 so they really get the idea that that is their home...
  4. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY

    My chickens would go a little farther everyday from the coop. Like they were exploring and becoming more familiar with their surroundings.
  5. dale

    dale Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 14, 2008
    My gang of 21 were relocated from a friends place a month or so ago. They spent 5 days in the coop and I let them out late in the day so they wouldn't go far. They figured out where home was right away.

    My office is on the second floor and I can see the coop 50' away in the yard. It's a blast to see them start to gather just before dusk.
  6. luvmygirlsinAK

    luvmygirlsinAK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    North Pole, Ak
    Try getting them used to the rattle of treats in a can, and then lead them like the pied piper home to roost everynight until they do it on their own.[​IMG]
  7. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    I never kept mine in more than a couple of days, when I had all new chickens to start with, or when I moved to a new place, or again when we built a new coop on a different part of the property. After they'd spent one or two nights there, they knew it was home. I didn't have to lure them back in at dusk or anything, they just went in.

    When I add new chickens to an established flock, I just stick them on a roost after dark, they wake up in their new home, and go out with the others the next day. They find their way back in at dusk, no problem.

    When I have baby chicks, I have to go down at dusk and make sure the chicks figure out how to get in. They can get confused, mom can be back inside with part of the babies, and there can be a few running around peeping franticly trying to find mom. The peeping makes it easy to find them all to catch and put in with mom.
  8. crooked stripe

    crooked stripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2008
    N.E Ohio- Suffield
    I have found that chickens are not escape artists like my dog. With the gates open my dog thinks there is something to investigate. My chickens seems to have no urge to venture out. They have always been fed out of the coop so they stop back from time to time for a snack. I have 3 drinking places in the summer spread around the yard but food always in the coop. The only problem I have is that the bantams fly to the top of the fence then land on the other side. So far they are not smart enough to get back over. They spend the day running back and forth trying to get through the fence. Eventually I have to go out and put them back in. I hope soon they learn to fly back over by themselves.
  9. chickorama

    chickorama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2008
    My chickens always knew when to go home when they were free range.
  10. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    Mine were in their coop for a good three weeks before I let them out, but they were only five weeks old when they went in there, so it was like a huge playpen for them! But once I started to let them out in the late afternoon they always went right back into the coop at sunset. Their run wasn't built until they were a good three months old or so, so the only time they got out was when we could be there to watch them. Now we still let them roam a bit every afternoon and they always go back into their coop, marching in like little soldiers at sundown! [​IMG]

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