Chick pen to Chook pen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Intrigue, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Intrigue

    Intrigue New Egg

    Sep 23, 2012

    I am new to chickens and this forum. I am also australian living in North Queensland so am new to all the tech words. Please bare with me.

    I have already learned alot from this forum and am sure to be a great chicken keeper one day... just a little help please..

    I purchased my chicks about 6 weeks ago, I was advised they were between 1 and 2 weeks old. I have 4 light sussex hens, and 4 Rhode Island Reds (is seems a cockrel snuck in there, so him + 3 hens).

    I raised them in a large bird cage in and around the home. At about 5/6 weeks of age, I moved them out to the style of chook pen we have in Oz, which is basically an open garden shed (fit out with their nesting boxes and perches etc) and an wire enclosed run. They are eating a starting mix plus some daily greens.

    Anyhow my question is that when I moved them into the Chook pen I also moved in the bird cage in which they were raised in (just a comfort while they got used to their new home). I also put in a cat box in case they prefered that while they grew.

    Now they are about 7 weeks and growing well. They roost a little during the middle of the day but most of the time they are still on the floor. They squeeze themselves into the same birdcage in the evenings.

    I had through that as they age they will find and prefer their roost but it appears they just love their bird cage.

    Do I need to remove this birdcage so that they are forced to roost? and if so at what age? (or will they eventually progress to this by themselves, I worry they will be upset if I take their cage away).

    I have not as yet lined their nesting boxes as I read it is important they learn to roost before finding their way into the boxes? At what age should I line the boxes for them?

    Thanks for reading, any pointers are welcome
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland

    You can leave the cage in there a bit longer if you want, but I think they may end up hurting themselves if they all try and squeeze in there now that they're bigger. Some of my chickens take to roosting from an early age and some take forever to get the idea. At some point instinct will tell them it's better to sleep up than down (predators). They are probably still a bit nervous about the new environment, but they'll settle in and learn. You don't have to line the nest boxes yet. Most pullets start laying at around 18-24 weeks of age. When they show signs of getting ready you can line the boxes and put some fake eggs or golf balls in there to show them what it's for.
  3. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2012
    I would go ahead and remove the cage. It will encourage them to use their roost and they will adapt quickly. Leave the nest boxes alone as Sumi suggested till 4 1/2 months.

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