Another UPDATE!! By George, I think we've done it!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by obxWaMi, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. obxWaMi

    obxWaMi Songster

    Yesterday we got the chicks moved into the big girl coop/run and last night we put the Big Girls into the new coop. That was quite an adventure!

    If acceptance of the nest box in the new coop is any indication of acceptance of the new coop as their new home, my girls have accepted it well. We went outside to check the nest box in the new coop and there were 5 eggs in it! 5 hens + 5 eggs = success in our eyes. NOW, all we have to do is wait until dusk tonight to see if they go to the new coop on their own. That will be the true indicator of a successful move.


    My 6 hens have been happily free-ranged in my yard since September without incident.
    Their coop and run is super secure/safe, but we haven't shut the pop-door or the door to the run in many months.
    Here is a picture of their coop and run. [​IMG]

    They come and go as they please and HATE to be shut in the run.
    Two days ago the chicks I got for Mother's Day were successfully moved outdoors. Their coop hasn't got a door installed yet and the run is only made from plastic garden fence on green garden poles.
    Here is the new coop and run....[​IMG]

    We figured they would be safe enough for a few days until we figured out which kind of (better) run to build.
    We have seen nothing more vicious than a squirrel in our neighborhood in the 4.5 years we have lived here (do you see where this is going?)
    After working all day to finish the new coop we forgot to gather eggs from the other coop until nearly midnight. When we got about 30 feet from the coop a raccoon dashed across the yard and up the tree directly behind the secure coop. Needless to say, we spent the majority of the night outside guarding our flock.

    Our question is this.... Would it be possible to successfully transition the grown-up hens into the new coop? We are going to put a new door on it tomorrow and we would take the run down altogether. We would put the 24 chicks in their coop and run since they don't know anything about free-ranging and won't be upset by being penned up all the time.

    Any advice on this transition will be graciously accepted. THANKS

    UPDATE-- The coop/run has been cleaned out thoroughly (in 100 degree heat) and the babies have been moved. DH and SIL are in the process of cutting a piece of plywood to enclose the underside of the coop around the back and sides. Decided this was prudent since someone mentioned raccoons reaching through the wire and ...well, you know. It will get a full roof--instead of a tarp--in a few days.

    The 6 girls were very curious of the new coop, even when I was putting the pine shavings inside they were inside it checking it out. Tried containing them in the little enclosure without success. They just hopped over it like it wasn't there, so we took half of it down. Now we have to do is to be outside at dusk to make sure they go inside the coop. Thankfully we are off from work tonight.

    I feel so much better with everyone in their new houses. Thanks to everyone who gave input on this situation. Now, cross your fingers that it works out.


    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  2. dirge

    dirge In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2010
    I would avoid mixing them just yet.
    Hens need to be them same size when introduced so that everyone can handle the inevitable pecking-ordering that will happen.
    Not only will 24 chickies running around annoy the elder flock, the little ones are in danger of bad bad things being so little and not able to assert themselves in the order.

    I would get a door on the new coop as by the time it gets dark tonight.

    even it's screwing in a temporary plywood door. Lock those babies in!

    We've lost a few chickens to racoons and just the other night, i didn't lock up my ducks soon enough (they won't put themselves inside like the chickens do) and one of my boys got nabbed. -I'm still a weepy-dude over the matter so avoid this and lock those babies up!
  3. obxWaMi

    obxWaMi Songster

    Oh, no! We wouldn't be mixing them.
    We are going to switch coops. The hens in the new coop and the babies into the older coop that the hens have been using. We just want to make sure the hens will tollerate being moved and will go to the new coop each night.
    Sorry if I wasn't clear on that point.
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I think the OP is asking about switching the two flocks' coops, right?

    You could do it, but you will need to - and you're going to hate this - lock your older chickens in their new coop for at least a couple of days to communicate to them that this is their new home. If you don't, they will likely go back to their old home at night or sleep outside, where you definitely don't want them if there are raccoons around.

    However, i think i'm failing to see the benefit of the switch. Are you wanting to switch so that the new babies will be behind a secure run? If so, please still put a door on the older coop. If raccoons have spotted your dinner buffet there, and you don't have outside dogs to scare them off, they will be back, and they will easily get inside that run and into the coop. Do not underestimate the strength or intelligence of a raccoon. They have found a mega dinner buffet, and they'll keep trying to get at it.

    Also, if the little ones decide not to go inside at night and stay in the run instead, they are REALLY in danger because chickens have the unhappy tendency to go to the corner (where the raccoons can reach them most easily) when they're afraid. I'm speaking from experience. If you saw one raccoon, there are probably many more where he came from.

    I love your coops, by the way. Just lock those darlings in. They'll get used to it, and you'll feel more secure knowing they're safe. Also, make sure any vents or cavities in the coops are covered securely with hardware cloth.
  5. dirge

    dirge In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2010
    oh for sure!
    I guess i just misread - i can feel my eyes sagging off my face from all the yardwork today.

    The elder chickens should not have any problems with being moved.
    When we get new spring chickens, we quarantine them in a temp coop across the yard from the future home - our permanent coop.

    It takes a few nights for them to realize that they should return to the new coop, but in a few short days - they will adopt it as their own.
    I think it might help to leave the plastic fence up for a few days to keep them close/confined to the immediate area of their new home.
    This will help them respognize it as theirs.
    Once they accept it/claim it, you should be able to take down the fence and let the roam as they will.

    take care
  6. embkm

    embkm Songster

    Jan 16, 2009
    Colbert, Ga
    Switching the coops won't be a problem. I would keep the run up for a few weeks though so they learn the new coop is their new home.

    I just want to point out though, it looks like on the roof of the run, under the tarp is just chicken wire. That WILL NOT keep out a raccoon (I know from sad experience). Do not count on that to keep the chicks safe at night with a coon on the prowl.
  7. obxWaMi

    obxWaMi Songster

    Thank you to all for the input. Glad to know this is a possibility. We will start work first thing tomorrow on the transition and the building modifications.

    To put everyone's mind at ease, there is in fact a pop-door on the coop with the tarp over the wire (which is double layered, BTW) and I have now shut it for the night. We have decided to completely roof that over in the next day or so, too.
    The new coop, with the babies tucked in for the night, also has a plywood door nailed over it for tonight.
    A more permanent door will be put on the new coop tomorrow and both doors will eventually be replaced with automatic, electric sliding doors because I am not as early a riser as my hens.


  8. dirge

    dirge In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2010
    keep us up-to-date when you put in those automatic sliding doors - i'd be very interested in seeing what you come up with.

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