Completely new to keeping yard birds but I am taking over for someone whos situation changed and they had to give up their 2 Cayugas. Research brought me here and I am comfortable with the basics but am still looking for general and especially breed specific resources.
Currently they are in a ruubermaid bin inside but it is time for them to move outside. They always avoided the heat lamp but it is definitely a necessity with our cold nights. I have a coop but am modifying it for our cold climate and my personal ease (hints on coop modifications are appreciated also).
The idea is for them be free in my yard during the day but closed up at night. Specific questions are below and any info helps.
They are extremely skittish. I will be introducing treats (list from this site is awesome) and hoping this helps them realize I am a friend but is there anything else I can do? I hate to see them avoid me when I show up and panic when I get them to clean their bin.
I am worried about rounding them up when I first free them during the day. Any suggestions?
I read about ramp dangers. My coop is elevated (10 inches or so) in the center section. What angle of ramp is appropriate and should I put rungs on it to help the traction?
A few watering issues. I had a smaller water bottle but it empties fast so I bought a 3 gallon self watering trough that I can also use when winter comes. So far they empty whatever water is in the jug at some point during the night but I am not sure how. Then I have to clean out their bin because I don't want them standing in soggy straw. Will this stop when I get it moved to the coop? I am really hoping it fixes with more space because of the necessity of water.
I have a million more questions but these are the only ones I can come up with now. Thanks in advance!