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how to transition into coop?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

i have 10 rirs total, 2 about 1 month old and 8 about 2 1/2 weeks old. I also have 4 around 1 month old silkies.

I am planning to move them outside soon, and was wondering if i need to do anything special. I heard somewhere you are supposed to leave them in the coop (no outside time) for a week, is that true? is there anything else I have to do?


also, what material do you recommend using in the coop as bedding? I was thinking either pine or wheat straw, and then someone told me sand is also good. should i use one of those or is there another one that is better?




post #2 of 6

We use wood shavings in our coop (pine i think) it soaks up the water our ducks and chickens spill and if they drop food and peck at the bedding they won't be ingesting things they shouldn't be because the shavings are too big for them to eat. You can't use cedar shavings, i don't remember specifically why but i know to NEVER use cedar.


And sand is good for light layers around water bowls for ducks but definitely not for chickens and not for the whole coop. As for leaving them in the coop, it doesn't sound like to bad of an idea. We did that with our chickens for a few days and now they're fine. Just leave a window open if possible, assuming it's closed off so they can't jump out so they can at least get used to the sounds and such. It's good to leave them in the coop for awhile just so they don't get overwhelmed with being outside AND in a completely new environment. Have they been all introduced? I'm straying from my point, NEVER use sand, especially for young chickens! They'll mistake it for their food and eat the sand, even in small amounts it will give lead poisoning which is very fatal. It makes me jittery just thinking about it, please don't use sand!


Another question (sorry this is so long! I hope it's been helpful so far) Do you have a run attached to your coop? 


I'm not to experienced with introducing chickens but Fresh Eggs Daily has a very detailed article about it, just search it up it shouldn't be too hard to find. 


As for the wheat straw, I've had my fair share of experience with straw in the winter time and let me say it is a pain! The straw weaves itself together and whenever I went to scoop it out it would all come out in a giant sopping heap which is a lot harder to clean out then it sounds. Plus if they ate the wheat it would fill them up with carbs and they won't eat their regular food, this is especially deadly for when they start laying because they won't get the nutrition they need.


I hope this very long post has helped you. If you have any questions at all I'd be overjoyed to answer them as best as I can. When I first got my ducks I was non stop consulting this website and asking questions, I'm just glad that now I can help people back!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

thanks for the reply!! Yes, we have a run attached to our coop. The coop is 8x8, and the run is probably a little over 3 times the size of the coop.

post #4 of 6

When we tried to rally the chickens back into the coop for the first time one got scared and ran right through the chain webbing! So I'd be careful about that. Maybe section off the majority of the run for their first time out just so they don't get to overwhelmed. Or leave it all for them to wander in and stay out there with them just to give them a familiar face so they're not to scared. But I might wait a few days before letting them out, though that's just so they instill the coop as their home and go back to the coop when they get scared and just give them a place to go that they'll be comfortable in.

post #5 of 6

I beg to differ about the sand issue. I've never heard of sand being associated with lead poisoning, but I suppose it's possible if there happens to be lead in the soil around your place from old buildings. However, clean builders sand isn't going to harm chickens. I've been using it in my run for eight years, and my chicks are being brooded on it right this minute.


When I installed my chicks, one day old, in their outdoor brooding pen, they went nuts eating sand, ignoring their fermented feed. This was far from being my first chicks brooded on sand, so I knew this was going to be short-lived, and it was. They suffered no ill effects and began eating their feed the next day. They are now two weeks old and doing just great. I didn't let the grit they had ingested go to waste, either. They got introduced to meal worms on their third day, another "rule" I happily break. Chicks know how much grit they need, and consume it. Sand is a handy substitute for store bought grit.


I will be transitioning them to the coop in another two weeks. All I do is move them in one night, and in the morning, I open the pop hole and show them how to come out into the run. The first night after that, I need to teach them to go into the coop to sleep. I get inside the coop with a flash light and coax them inside with their favorite treat - meal worms.


The second night, I need to coax them in again, but by the third night, they usually go in on their own. My chicks don't need to be cooped up since I teach them to go in and out. It's easy, doesn't take long, and they are putting themselves in the coop by age five weeks, and roosting, too.

post #6 of 6

I completely understand your reasoning behind being for sand in coops but putting it and no other bedding raises problems in my mind. I worry about the chicks running around on the loose sand, sure it won't hurt them that much but there are better options. It reminds me off kitty litter, and that's just wrong to me. Honestly, sand doesn't pose many sure-fire backed up threats in my mind but somehow it just seems odd. Sand isn't something chickens would encounter very often if they lived in the wild and something that gets me answers to the questions I ask myself is how native that food or element would be to a wild chicken. It seems strange to me, I don't mean to offend. I wouldn't want to give my birds anything that even has the possibility of poisoning them or not making them as hardy as they could be. It seems hard to clean and expensive to buy, not a very practical option to me. Plus we have our Silkie chicks with a heat lamp, and more to come, I feel like the sand would heat up fairly quickly and make it too hot for them. Personally for my lifestyle, the cons outweigh the pros. We use our dirty bedding for composting our gardens and lawns.I have no idea what we'd do with poopy sand or how we would scoop out our big coops.

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