Can you teach an old Roo new tricks?

LuvOurChix

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 6, 2009
12
0
22
I really need some advice. We started out with 2 Cornish Cross chickens we bought from TSC as "pets" for my youngest. Being the uneducated chicken person, we let her pick them out. After some time we learned about them being meat chickens and have taken great strides to not over feed them and make sure they can live happy healthy lives without the leg/foot problems early on.

In the mean time, we have aquired 7 more chickies of all different types and have built a big coop (I'll put the pics of the coop in the next contest
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) and all of the chickies love it.

My problem is - the Cornish X Roo is deathly afraid of the ramp to get in. He is pretty heavy, and he certainly can not get himself off of the ground if he had to. We opened up the wider door for him and put on a wider ramp for him, but he is still deathly afraid of it. We tried to teach him to use it, like everyone else, but he just won't do it. He will actually stand at the base of the coop and crow until I go out to lift him up into the coop.

Could it be he is afraid of falling off of the ramp? Do you think I should maybe try to put some sides on the ramp so he doesn't get the fear of falling?

We keep the feeders inside the coop - so I thought just having the food and water in there would entice him to use the ramp - NOPE. I have made the biggest chicken ramp ever...5 feet long and 4 feet wide...thinking the extra wide would make him not worry about falling off. Still NOPE.

I'm at a loss.
 

Peeper7

Songster
12 Years
Apr 2, 2009
393
3
194
Northeast Ohio
if he will go OUT through the ramp easily, then spend some time putting him in the coop and letting him come out repeatedly. he'll eventually get it.
put some irresistable treats at the bottom of the ramp and try to work him upward a little at a time.
does he roost on an elevated surface? If not, then he probably does have a fear of falling. Those meat birds may not have the best balance because they are out of proportion due to the large breast.
good luck!
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LuvOurChix

In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 6, 2009
12
0
22
I will have to try the treats. He will not roost on anything other than the ground. Instead of walking down the ramp, he tries very hard to avoid it, flaps his wings as hard as he can, and crash lands on the ground.

His hen will use the ramp to get to the food, but she is not as heavy as he is. He really is a BIG boy.

I have a free day Saturday - I will spend time with him then with the treats and see what we can accomplish.

Thank you so much! I'll keep ya posted
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StupidBird

Songster
10 Years
Apr 8, 2009
2,066
23
214
GA
I have found that sprinkling gritty sand onto wet paint makes a decent non-skid surface. Faux stone used to be made by layering this as a wood finish. I was going to do this in my coop, but my stupid birds finally figured out the cleated ramp on their own. Good Luck!
 

Peeper7

Songster
12 Years
Apr 2, 2009
393
3
194
Northeast Ohio
Sounds like your BIG bird has reason to feel insecure. If you can, you might want to try enclosing the ramp. I am in the process of putting up some really high ramps to the second floor of the barn. I'm going to make sides and top so that the birds won't try flying down from the top.
 

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