5-week chicks begging to come inside?

City Gardener

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
Last night we left our 5-week chicks outside in the coop for their first night out. The temp was going to be in the mid-60's, and it seemed sad to bring them into their tiny brooder. I checked on them before bed and they were in a cuddly pile together inside a nest box.

In the morning they were fine.

Then, tonight, around 8 pm we noticed they were cheeping so loudly. We went out to the coop and they were all huddled in the corner closest to the house, cheeping like crazy at us, louder than I have ever heard. A few of them flew up against the coop, and then climbed the chicken wire, like they were desperately trying to get to us!

When we opened the door they let us pick them up, no problem, instead of fussing and running around a little to avoid getting picked up.

Is it possible they wanted to come inside? I told dh I didn't think they were smart enough to think like that. He said, "they're thinking something."

They all had huge crops, which we kind of freaked out about. But they've gone down, and once we brought them inside they calmed down and are now in a happy heap, sleeping inside their brooder.

what the heck? Anyone heard of anything like this?

We are newbies at this, can you tell? (like nervous parents bringing our babies into our beds!)
Oh absolutely. They may not know a lot, but then know where home is and when it is time to go to bed. It took me for-ever to make their tractor night time ready so we brought our babies inside to sleep. We let them free range in the evening and they would knock on the door when they were ready to go to bed.
might also check for small predators

found a mouse in my coop one night --- all the chicks were in the run underneath the coop as far away from the chick ladder as they could get
Mine do the same thing. My coop was not finished so I would keep them in their brooder shed in the garage at night and then carry them (in a rubbermaid tub) out to the run. At night, I would go out and catch them all and then bring them back to the brooder shed in the garage.

Finally finished the coop this weekend. First night I had to put everyone in through the pop door and they were quite upset in there peeping and squawking and making their "take me to bed!" noises.

Last night, the two white leghorns and 1 buttercup were up in the coop on roosts when I went to catch everyone. The others were all in the run making their "take me to bed!" noises and clamoring at the fence. I put them through the pop door and locked them in for the evening.

Tonight, the 6 "oldest" (2 white leghorns, 2 buttercups, 2 jersey giants) all put themselves to bed. The 6 cochins that are a week younger were outside making their "take me to bed!" noises. Once I stuck them through the pop door, one cochin jumped up on a roost right away, the others were still upset.

I assume it takes some time for them to figure out where "home" is when you make a change. I figure within a week they should have it figured out. Mine have always made the "take me to bed!" noises if I did not bring them inside before dusk/dark.
It's so hard when you first put them out. I put mine out at 5 weeks too and I felt like I'd just sent my firstborn to kindergarten! They're now 13 weeks and I still check on them many times throughout the day. My DH made a wonky ladder perch for them and tonight when I went in, they were all sitting one on top of each other across the very short top of the ladder. There are 10 thirteen weekers and maybe room for four of them comfortably on the top. LOL it was hilarious but I felt bad for them. I came in and asked DH to build us an appropriate roost.

Mine still cry when I turn the light off in the coop. DH makes me turn it out.
I want to leave it on for their nightlight. It's only a 25 watt bulb!
Lol, I have a similar thing here. The coop is not finished, so my four 4 week old chicks go to the temporary outdoor pen during the day and then back inside in their brooder at night. I carry them back and forth in a little pink cat carrier. The first time, I thought that I would have a hard time catching them to take them back in, but when I went out after supper they were all waiting in the cat carrier to go to back to the house.
I think that they are a lot smarter than people think!

Today they had their first experience with rain. It only lasted 5 minutes, but I ran out to take them in, and as soon as they saw me they all ran into the cat carrier with looks of relief on their little faces! Was quite funny!

I know that the "big" move to the coop will be traumatic for all of us (except my dh). I'm going to be wishing that I had a camera in there to keep an eye on them, just the thought of sticking them out there alone is freaking me out! Man, what has happened to me????
Hey Guys!

I know this may not be the right thread but maybe you all can help.
I am a little unsure about when chicks no longer need a light on them at night. Most of mine have all their feathers, a few don't all the way. RIght now I have a 40 watt light on them, any sugestions.
So funny you'd post this today. Yesterday, we got five chicks that hatched April 21st, so they're about six weeks old. We got home kind of late, so we put them straight into a really big rubbermaid tote with an old sheet over the top - they went right to sleep. This morning, we put them out in the A-frame tractor that will be their home for 30 days, quarantined until they can go in our bigger coop with the older gals. They loved being out there, scratching in the grass, seemed very happy all day. Then about dusk they started cheeping louder and louder and bunched up at one end of the run. We had planned on making them sleep outside in the tractor, but they sounded so frantic that I made DH get the big rubbermaid tote they'd slept in last night in the garage. When he opened up the door on the end of the run where they were all crowded, they lined up single file and waited for him to pick each one up and put them in the tote! I'd never seen chickens line up like that before - it was hilarious. I wish I'd had our camera to get a shot of them standing there in line, looking like they were waiting to get on a bus. As soon as he'd gotten them in the tote and threw the sheet over the top, they all quieted down immediately.

I know we'll have to make them get used to sleeping in the tractor, but I just can't make them do it tonight - it's supposed to rain, and I don't think they've ever slept outside before. Besides, I know I'd be up half the night worrying that they were too cold, or scared by the wind and loud rain. DH knows he'd probably end up having to go get them at 2:00 am. So this way we can all sleep better tonight.
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Anyone ever experimented with putting the brooder they were raised in out in the coop/tractor for a few days or so? Obviously it would only work if the brooder could be moved and actually *fit* inside the coop/tractor, but it might be a familiar object to calm them down. Sort of like sending a rug that smells like you with your dog when it's boarded.

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