Confounded by Sicilian buttercup chicks shunning their heat cave

kurby22

Crowing
Apr 12, 2021
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Sacramento Area, California
Second night in the coop for the Buttercups went so smoothly, I was out of there in under five minutes and the chicks didn't even need to be closed up in the coop.

Earlier, I gave them a quick course in clicker training where I coaxed them into the coop using meal worms, and I sat with them for around ten minutes while they poked around and explored.

Then as it got dark and the rest of the flock had gone into the main coop. I called them back in using the clicker. I had turned the lights on inside the coop so it was lighter in there than out in the run. They came in after the hen (not Millie) who has been roosting alone in that section of the coop for the past few months had settled on her perch. They looked up at the perch and flexed their little knees as if they were all ready to fly up. Rather than have them attempt it and miss and get discouraged, I lifted them both up. They stayed.

For two chicks that never, ever once went into their heating pad cave on their own, this immediate taking to living in the coop and roosting on the first night, and again on the second, has me in a state of wonder. They're a little over five weeks old. Maybe they're much smarter than I thought.
Smart little birds! :idunno😁
 

ColtHandorf

🙄🤚 Sass Master
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Feb 19, 2019
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For two chicks that never, ever once went into their heating pad cave on their own, this immediate taking to living in the coop and roosting on the first night, and again on the second, has me in a state of wonder. They're a little over five weeks old. Maybe they're much smarter than I thought.
Buttercups are fairly independent chicks. Roosting should be easy for them. Mine stopped piling up as soon as roosts were available.
 

azygous

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11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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It got dark before I finished stacking the firewood I had been splitting. I had just let the younger rooster into his run so he could go into the coop in his own way. For some reason, he refused to enter through the door I held open for him. I turned on the lights in the coop, and clicked for the chicks. No chicks, so I went around to the run to see what they were up to.

I barely had enough light to police the run, scooping poop I could barely see. I saw the chicks near their coop and before I could coax them onto my knees to put them inside, they hopped through the pop hole. I finished scooping poop, then went and peeped into the coop. The chicks had already roosted.

I went around to the door and looked in at them. They looked back as if to say. "What? You're surprised? This is where we've been wanting to sleep ever since that first night you stuffed us under that stupid heating pad."

Okay, then you come up with a reason why these twerps never would go under their heating pad on their own volition, yet have had no reluctance whatsoever transitioning to the coop and roosting on the very first night.

I can't figure it out. I turned the lights out and went into the house.
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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These two Buttercups are growing up much too fast. Today, as I was stacking firewood, I saw Millie right at my feet with the chicks. Huh? Yep, there they were. I thought, photo op!

I dropped the firewood and ran into the house and grabbed the camera. When I got back, there was Millie still by the firewood piles, but no chicks. Okay, I tell myself, no need to panic. I looked in the run, and there was one chick peeping loudly for its little buddy who was nowhere to be seen.

Time to panic a little bit. But all the chickens were behaving normally. If a predator had snatched a chick, the flock would be all hiding under the coop. But searching everywhere turned up no missing chick.

I decided it was time to feed the flock, and food always brings out any hidden chickens. I returned with the food, and began dishing it up. Then I spotted the missing chick devouring food from the big girls' dishes while her little friend was still chirping for her to return in the chick pen.

I know the chicks are now six weeks old, and they're not really babies any longer, but I don't know if I'm ready for them to grow up this fast.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
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Mar 5, 2019
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They do grow up fast! At 9 weeks, mine are nearly as big as their 2- and 3-year old aunties, who look smaller than usual because they are going through a "hurricane molt." I call it that because they look like they've been through a hurricane in spite of the Feather Fixer formula they've been on for weeks!
 

azygous

Enabler
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You're ready for an update, aren't you?

The last two nights, the chicks appeared to be confused. Last night, at near dark, the two were outside pecking around, pretending to free-range, and not paying any attention to it being time to get their little butts into the coop and settled in before it got too dark to see what they were doing. I had to grab them and carry them to their coop and put them on their perch.

They were as wound up as overstimulated toddlers. I needed to stroke and cuddle and calm them, and they finally relaxed and did some quiet trilling.

Tonight, they were both in the main coop, why is anyone's guess. I was finishing up over by my squash patch where the deer had demolished a fence because they were smart enough to go in through the open gate, but too stupid to remember the gate when they decided to leave. I needed to dismantle the fence section and lay it down so stupid deer wouldn't break a leg on it when they came back tonight to practice being stupid again.

When I got back to the coop, one chick was on the window sill of the main coop while the other chick was on the window sill of the rear coop. So, I grabbed the chick who was on the window sill of the wrong coop and carried her to her own coop, moved the chick there off the window sill and placed both on the perch.

There was a sound of a snarling hen coming from a nest box, and the two chicks stretched their necks out to try to figure out what that noise was. One of my year-old Blue Plymouths was hiding in a nest. She was there last night, too, but I left her thinking she had a late egg to lay. So I grabbed her out of the nest and carried her around to the main coop and stuck her on a perch.

This is my life.
 

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