Chicken Coop Behavioral Concerns

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tarponsbday, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Tarponsbday

    Tarponsbday New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2013
    Before you begin reading, I just want to make it clear that I'm a first-time chicken owner... You probably will be able to tell after reading the thread.

    We've had two chickens for probably one month and a half or so, and they've been kept inside until we could finish building a chicken coop for them. Well, we finished it and finally moved them outside. I've been looking online and talking to people, and from what I understand, it's normal for the chickens to not go up the ladder inside the coop for a little while. My question is this: how long does it usually take for the chickens to learn how to climb up the ladder in the coop? And is there any way to make them feel more comfortable in doing so? They look maybe a bit larger than they do in my current profile picture.

    Another thing I'm concerned about is that since I live in Florida, it gets very hot. It's been particularly hot the past few days and when I go to check on the chickens, they're usually panting. Earlier, they were laying down while panting, and I put a few ice cubes in their water to try to cool them down a bit. Now they're walking around, but still panting. I put more ice in there, and was wondering whether this was okay to do? And is there a large chance of my chickens having a heat stroke or over-heating?

    I believe I've read about both these topics on this site, but I figured posting my own thread might get answers that are more specific to what my concerns are. Thanks to all answers in advance!
     
  2. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2012
    Ipswich, MA
    Yes, it sure is hot down there right now! Chickens pant - that's good. I use ice to cool my girls off, too - i'm not sure how much good it does, but it does seem to help enough. letting them out to dustbathe in the shade cools them off best, if you can find some shade...
    my girls needed help the first couple nights to go up the ramp. they caught on really quickly after a couple nights of guidance, just have patience.
    i find the coop gets really hot at night for sleeping, too, and i have a little clip on fan in there just to circulate the air. again, i don't know how much good that really does, but i do know that the fluffiest one claims it each night and sticks her beak almost into the blades to get the breeze...
     
  3. Tarponsbday

    Tarponsbday New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2013
    The coop they're in does have a roof, so they do have shade. I live in an area where all my backyard is is grass. There are small, random patches of dirt in the lawn that I sometimes see the chickens laying in, but I'm not sure if that's enough. Do you think I should maybe take out some grass and leave one corner of the coop as just dirt?

    Ha, thanks for the idea about the fan. I'll have to go out and buy a small fan to put in there!
     
  4. cheeperchick

    cheeperchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2013
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    I am also a first time owner..mine will be two months old this month. Maybe if you guide the leader chick on the ladder the others might follow. I did that with mine on the roosting bars and now they go up and down. Mine also pant with the heat...we live in NM. Good luck.
     
  5. leetfreq925

    leetfreq925 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ipswich, MA
    Yes, definitely give them some dirt/ sand to dustbathe in. if you can stomach giving them a corner under a tree to dustbathe in, that really is what will cool them off best. they still may pant, but it helps to get in the cooler ground.
    the coop may not have enough circulation and the actual structure heats up so that, even if it is shade, the heat may radiate enough to make it too hot? i don't know the set up, but at least try the little fan and see if they are happier.
    i've even frozen bottles of water and stuck them in the coop to try to cool it down...
     
  6. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the ladder is too steep then they won't like it. Does it have "steps" on it to help them get a grip? Every night help them up into the coop, after a few days start tempting them up it with their feed or a special treat. They'll get there. [​IMG]

    I put large frozen chunks of ice in my waterer, last longer than ice cubs. I've reused those small bottles of water, works great. I also feed the flock frozen fruit. I bought them a water mister that really helps the area cool down but they are all scared of it. [​IMG] You're right to be concerned about heat stroke, it can happen easily.

    An easy dust bath is a cat litter box with a bag of sand. For my flock of 6 I've been using my daughters old turtle sandbox, they like to all be in there together so its the perfect size
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
  7. txnative

    txnative Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chicks are weeks old now and have been out in their coop for 2 weeks. 3 nights ago they FINALLY put themselves to bed using the ramp instead of my having to put them inside.
     

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