A Couple Newbie Questions (Kind of Long - Sorry!)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by socalchicks, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. socalchicks

    socalchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2009
    Temecula Valley, CA
    I have five 5 week old chicks. I moved them outside permanently about 1.5 weeks ago. (Its been really warm here so I did it a little early!) This is my first flock and I have a couple questions.

    First, the last week its been really hot, well over 100 during the day cooling down to around 80 at night. I don't let them free range during the day, but the run is a good size and there is plenty of shade for them. But, every time I go to check on them they are all panting. I know they're too hot, but I'm not sure what to do for them. Other than the panting they are all acting fine. They are eating and drinking and pooping normally. I've been putting ice in their water but other than that I don't know. Do I need to do anything?

    Second, I let them out in the yard for an hour or so in the evenings. As soon as the sun goes down they all hundle together outside my garage door (which is where I kept the brooder). How do I get them to recognize the coop as their new home and not the garage? It takes me forever to get them rounded up and back in the coop!

    Lastly, my coop is about 3 ft off the ground and there is an attached run. The girls won't go up the ramp into the coop by themselves. If I put them in there, they will stay there all night and be out in the run when I check them in the morning. If I let them, they will huddle together on one of the 2X4's that frame in the run. What can I do so that they go up into the coop at night. I do have a roost in there.

    I'm sorry this post is so long! I'd appreciate any help, I'm learning as I go! [​IMG]
  2. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    They do pant when they are hot and initially it bothered me but they've been doing that for a long time without our intervention. Most psople can't stay home all day and give them things to cool them off. You'll get used to it. It's normal for them when hot. Sometimes When it's really hot I give them slices of frozen watermelon, but mostly I just make sure they have fresh water and I also put a tarp over part of the run. Some people also run fans in the coops.
    I would try keeping them in the coop for a week and not let them out. They'll know this is home and eventually go up the ramp and in the coop when they are ready. When mine go in for the night (as soon as it's dusk) they all crowd on the roosts together and jostle for the favorite positions. Sometimes a lot of squabbling going on! I have 8 roosts for them and they prefer the top two roosts. Mine are like 2 ladders. So what I mean is they all like to huddle together, totally normal. Hope this helps!
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I keep most of my run shaded because my hens hate being in direct sunlight. They don't really care for the heat.

    Joedie has good advice. I'd also lock them in their coop for a week. It is important that they get locked in a secure house at night. They will be much safer that way- most predators attack at night.

    They will learn to use the ramp in time. It's still pretty new for them and it takes chickens a while to learn new things.

  4. socalchicks

    socalchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2009
    Temecula Valley, CA
    Thank you both for the advice. I feel better knowing that I'm not doing something I shouldn't or not doing something I should! [​IMG]

    I had just never seen a chicken pant before and I was concerned! You're right, I will just have to get used to it. Hopefully, the heat won't last too much longer. I don't think I can handle it!

    I have to learn to let them be during the day. I work at home so I go out and check on them constantly. I'm still getting used to having chickens. Some day I'll be an ol' pro and not worry about anything![​IMG]
  5. RonB

    RonB Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    My ramp is three feet high. the first couple days I picked up a few of my girls and put them in the middle of the ramp and guided them up the ramp with my hands . They caught on quick and the rest of the flock followed. and yes they fight for position on the top roost. even though there is lots of room. Its fun to watch. after they have settled down I go in and talk to each one and rub their chest. They use to all peck me ,now only one or two do. My wife thinks I'm crazy
  6. socalchicks

    socalchicks In the Brooder

    Sep 1, 2009
    Temecula Valley, CA
    I'm so proud of my girls! I decided to let them out today and see if they had learned to come home to the coop yet. They did! But the proudest moment of all was about half an hour after I closed up the coop. I went back out to see where they were sleeping and they were all up in the hen house! [​IMG]

    It's still really hot here and they're all panting all day, but I've learned to just ignore it as long as no one is acting sick. Now I've learned to just give them time and let the chickens be chickens. They'll figure it out!

    Thanks for the advice!
  7. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    You could try putting big pans or saucers filled with water in the run, so the chickens can stand in them to cool their feet. Since their feet are unfeathered and lack insulation, this will help to cool their whole bodies.

    On the hottest days, I also hook up a mister to my garden hose and mist part of the run to cool things down a bit.

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