1. HobieSkipper

    HobieSkipper Hatching

    2
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    Jul 31, 2014
    Hello everyone!

    This is my first endeavor with chickens and this site has been of great help and assistance so far answering questions that I have had. I was recently given 5 hens and a rooster that are approx. a month or two old. I was also given a 4x3' coop with 3 nesting boxes attached to the side and a 10x4' run. I am in the process of expanding the run to give them 90sq ft. I have built another coop which is also 4x3 and attached it to the original coop(free materials dictated the size) via a 9" long tunnel between the two that is the size of a pop door.

    The birds are going into the coop on their own at night but I have yet to let them free range. They are however not venturing over into the new coop addition which contains two roost's at night. When I check on them after dusk they are either on the top ledge of the pop door to the original coop or the ledge above the nest box opening. I have blocked the nest boxes off as they were sleeping in them the first few nights.

    Should I just staple some fencing up so that they are not able to land on the ledges? Should I be concerned that they are not going over into the other coop? The new addition was put into service on Monday. Also the girls have stayed in the run for the time that I have had them (1 week as of today). At their previous home they were all free ranging with the rest of the animals. When do you think that it would be safe to let them out to free range? I am thinking that they should be let out a couple hours before dusk for a while before being out for long periods....

    Thank you in advance for your advice!
     
  2. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    Hello, and welcome to BYC,

    The birds will find your chicken tunnel in time, you might sprinkle a treat or such in there and perhaps in the other coop to draw them into it. Either way, when they are ready they will venture over. Birds need to be 'homed' to a new coop and or place. Usually for me four or five days will do it. Let them outside, in the evening as you noted, and let them explore the area and begin to become comfortable with it. After a while shoo them back in, repeat this and let the birds run to the safety of the 'home' coop. Once they associate safety with home, then you can let them venture a little farther and so on, until you are free ranging as you wish.

    Chicken time is way different from people time, they are never late, never in a hurry, they just eat and squawk about the place at their own pace… no need to rush them, they would not listen to your wishes anyway. Just take it slow, but expand every day to some extent. Unless you instincts tell you different.

    Best to you and your new birds,

    RJ

    Edit: If you don't want them to roost in some places, just take them away from them. Most any method you favor will do just fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  3. chynasparks

    chynasparks Songster

    548
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    Jun 21, 2013
    Texas
    I must admit I am envious of the fact you were given a coop. How cool is that! They don't come cheap. I got for chickens last year. Had to learn asi go. I thought I got 4 hens but one turned out to be a rooster. Now a year later I have 4 new hatchlings. I regret I'm not prepared for 4 new chickens. It would be awesome to get my hands on another coop. We spent about $850 building ours. A current family emergency prevents us from building another. What I've learned is chickens know what to do. Good luck with your flock.
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