After nearly two months of coop time, our Dominiques are finally ready to see the world. I’ve opened the coop door wide open three times now and like Noah’s dove, they bring back stories of hope for their sisters cowering inside the ark.
Today we will bribe them all to come outside with a trail of non-GMO no-soy feed. It may take as long as a week for them to venture from the barn itself. Then again, Dominiques are much more independent and resourceful than Australorps, so perhaps they’ll venture out faster.
Why wait so long to let them free range?
You can certainly set your chickens outside earlier. I’ve waited two months for several reasons.
- An older bird is faster and smarter
- They know where home is
- They recognize my voice
- Buys me time to get a sense of where they’re at
Reason #2 is the most important. I train them on my voice by making the same “chick chick chick!” sound when I bring their feed. The hens now recognize my call and they know where to roost, which makes evening last call that much easier. When I open the coop door at dusk and call them, they’ll come running for supper.