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How smart are chickens?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Just moved my tractor coop with chickens from barn to yard. Chicks are 7 weeks old- they have spent the last 5 weeks in their coop in the barn. The coop is 4x8 and has an upstairs that is 4x8 also.... In other words they can be "down" and the space is 4x8 and enclosed in hardware cloth and sitting on the grass or they can go up the ladder and the upstairs(second story) is also 4x8 and enclosed with one window-(also covered in hardware cloth). So my question is... Since moving they seem a little scared in there but they are not going up the ladder to the higher, safer, warmer enclosed part of the coop.... Will they eventually figure this out?
post #2 of 5

They may not figure this out without help. Be prepared to go out just after dusk and put them where they're supposed to be every night for at least a week. Slowly, more and more birds will figure it out and go to bed on their own, and then suddenly, one night, all of them will. And then they'll coop up by themselves and you wont' have to do the nightly chicken catching any more.

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Does that mean I have put food and water upstairs too?
post #4 of 5

Don't think so. Mine always get their food and water outside of the coop. It depends on how early you plan to get up to let them out. If you're letting them out around the time they wake up--ie when it's light out--then they'll be fine. They don't need food in front of their faces 24/7, just when they are awake and active. Kind of like people.

 

They have a natural instinct to roost in a safe place at night, and once they've decided on that place, they always go there. You can train them to coop up where you want them by putting them where you want them every. single. night. until they "get it." 

 

We're at this stage with our pullets right now, too. I've moved them from the brooder to the pullet house in the pasture, and while they know how to leave the coop, they're not very good at going home yet. So every night just after dark I have to go out with a flashlight and find the little beasties, and put them to bed. But I only have to do it for a week or so. Eventually, if the place you want them to sleep in is acceptable to them (high, dark, feels safe) they'll go there. Especially if it is the best option around. 

The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
The chickens are sold! We sold off 150 roosters, hens, cockerels, and pullets and are down to 10 birds. Three ISA Brown, one Amberlink, one blue copper Marans, four black copper Marans and one blue Ameraucana rooster.
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Ok- thank you for the insight, I am just surprised they have to be trained to do this-I thought if they had a warm, safe, dry, dark place to go to at night they would automatically go there-I was surprised ( and worried) when I went out there to check on them and they were all huddled together and looking very scared.......directly UNDER a warm, safe enviroment. Oh well...guess I've never heard anyone say ..."as smart as a chicken"
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