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How long for the new pullets to get setteled in?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I bought 9 chicks this past Saturday that are 18 weeks old.  Three comets, 3 RIR, and 3 barred rocks.  Saturday they were extremely skiddish as I expected and stayed huddled in the coop and did a little scratching. I picked them up and put them out in the run and they seemed to love it, eating grass, scratching etc.  They went back inside and stayed all day yesterday, temps were in the mid to high 40's.  Today is in the 60's and I figured when I came home they would be out enjoying the weather.  I set two of them outside and they both came right back in.  A few minutes ago 3 of them came out but only for a couple of minutes.  They came from a pretty large breeder so I don't think they have spent much if any time outside.  I tried to coax them out with some bread and they are what they could reach from the pop door and left the rest on the ramp and ground.  They've got a huge run so I don't want them to feel cooped up.  I also don't want to keep tossing them outside if they don't want to be out there right now.

 

The last two nights I have gotten home really late and the first night one of them roosted outside on the ramp. Last two of them roosted part way out the pop door on the ramp. The remaining 7 were huddled up close and there was about 4 foot of empty roost space on the pole.  I will be home tonight before it gets dark. If they are outside again I am going to block them in.

I just thought it was funny the only 2 times they went out on there own was at bed time.

post #2 of 8

Put their food and water outside in the run. It could be that they aren't used to being outside, or that they aren't used to cooler outdoor temps. Don't worry. They will eventually figure out that being outside is pretty great.

Also, unless your run is an impenetrable fortress, it's best to get in the habit if shutting them up in the coop each night. Remember, if you can fit a few fingers through a gap, a racoon can fit a whole arm or a weasel can squeeze all the way in.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

No sooner then I typed this they started coming out on their own a little. 5-6 would come out, walk around for a minute then they would all run back in.  Then 10 minutes later they would come out again, so I assume they are getting used to the surroundings. 

 

As far as my run being a fortress, I can or cannot say if anything could ever get in it. It would be hard to make anything 100% predator proof.  My run is covered 100% with hardware cloth.  It runs from the ground on all sides and the top, held in by screws with washers.  There is also an apron of welded wire fence that runs around all sides.  The coop itself sits on the ground but a few places are lifted up off the ground to keep it level. I screwed hardware cloth onto the bottom edges of the coop and it extends out as an apron around the coop as well.

 

I obviously want to protect my chickens but I have crazy work schedule at times. I was hoping to build it secure enough that I did not have to open and close it every day. I didn't want to get called out to work at night and them be cooped up if I don't get back that day.  If it becomes an issued I might look at an automatic door system.

 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I went out just before dark tonight and all the birds except one were on the roost, the other (a barred rock) was again roosting on the ramp near the pop door. I coaxed her back in a blocked the door off. I went back out 1/2 hour later and she was sitting right on the ledge of the pop door (it was blocked from the outside.  There was about 4 foot of open roost space available in the coop.  I am assuming this is nothing I should be concerned about or could even do anything about, and should just let her figure it out for herself.

post #5 of 8

3 days isn't long.......give them time.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

I blocked the entrance off last night and that hen slept by the door. Tonight I blocked it again and they were all on the roost after dark.


I moved the food and water outside today and they came out some but still spent most of their time inside.  I bought some scratch and a handful of that kept them outside for a while.

 

Good new is I got two eggs today. Both were laid in the afternoon. One was a RIR and the other from a golden comet.  They both used different nest boxes which is good.

post #7 of 8
When I first brought my girls home they were various ages from 5 weeks to about 5 months and one older unknown age. It took at least a few weeks for them to get use to the roosting bars. I didn't have trouble with them going out side as they were basically all free range bird... just give them all time
post #8 of 8

Depending on how they were raised, they might not be used to going outside.  I'd say give them at least a week.  They will come out little by little, maybe for a half hour at first.  One of them will be the brave one and the rest will follow.  It also takes new birds a week or so to get used to a new routine.  Once they learn the routine it will be easy sailing.  

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