Coop training new chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Dcherie13, May 23, 2017.

  1. Dcherie13

    Dcherie13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2017
    My husband and I are new to chicken ownership and need some advice. We have nine 9 week old chicks that were given to us by a neighbor. We went through the coop training process with them and after free ranging most of the day they will go back in the coop on their own as the sun goes down.

    We will be getting 11 more chicks in about three weeks and we plan on having them all in the same coop as the others once they are old enough to make the transition. The question is, how do we coop train the newbies when the coop is already occupied? I will post pictures of our set up to go along with this, but if we keep them in a pen or dog kennel inside the run portion of the coop for a week, will that be sufficient to teach them the coop is "home?" Will they just follow the other hens up into the coop?
    Just as a side note, we will do the play pen method of introducing them to the flock before we start coop training them.

    Thank you in advance for any help!

    Attached Files:

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I don't know anything about training chicks to use a ramp. I just wanted to say your coop will be severely crowded with 19 chickens in it after they all grow up. I don't want to give out bad news, though maybe your set up is larger than it appears. I just don't want you having troubles down the road, crowded chickens are vicious chickens. Hopefully someone else can help with the training.

    chickens really likes this.
  3. Dcherie13

    Dcherie13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2017

    Thanks for the input! I'm not sure of the exact dimensions but per our online research for square foot per bird recommendations my husband built it to comfortably house 15-16 birds. We have Roos in our bunch now that we will be rehoming so this should clear up enough space for them!
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  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Is your coop 8 feet by 8 feet? That would be the minimum required space for 16 chickens. The run requirements for that many full grown chickens would be 160 square feet. Lack of adequate space, more crucial in the run than coop, can cause immense, and I don't over emphasize that, problems and conflicts, even cannibalism. If your coop and run do not meet these requirements, you would be wise to scale back your plans for new chickens.

    As far as coop training new chicks when the coop already has tenants, your plan to start them in the run to get the two groups accustomed to one another is a good first step. How long they remain in the run depends on how old these new chicks are when you get them. You haven't mentioned that.

    Regardless, when the new chicks reach five to six weeks, you may then move them into the coop. Move them in early in the day and shut out the older chicks, allowing the younger ones time to get used to their new surroundings. Wait until near dark to let the older ones in.

    However, be aware that the coop will appear different to the chicks from the outside and they may not automatically go inside when night comes. I don't know what method you used to coop train the first group, but you may need to show the chicks how to go into the coop for a few nights.
    blackdog043 likes this.
  5. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    I agree with azygous, your coop and run look way small for 19 full grown chickens. FWIW, we have 6 chickens, the coop is 8' x 9' and the run is 8' x 16'. Over crowding can cause behavior issues, is much harder to maintain and manage manure/smell.
    blackdog043 likes this.
  6. marenwise

    marenwise Just Hatched

    Dec 12, 2016
    Paradise, CA
    Hi. I just integrated 2 new pullets I raised from day old chicks into my flock of 3 full grown birds. I was really nervous about coop training too.

    So my babies were coop trained separate from the main flock. I set up a separate (mini) coop for the babies that was right next to the main coop/run that my older flock lives in. This way all the birds could see each other during the day. I left them in the mini coop for 2 weeks before all the chickens met without any barriers.

    To coop train the babies, when I moved them into their mini coop/run I locked them in the coop portion for 2 days. I opened the windows for ventilation and light during the day but they weren't allowed in the run at all. After the two days I let them out and they were coop trained. Like clockwork they wen't back to roost at night without any intervention.

    When I moved the babies into the main flock they went to roost at night in the big coop with the older birds no problem. We have a pretty steep ramp and the babies haven't had any trouble. I don't think you need to train them to walk up the ramp.

    If they don't go into the coop that first night, simply put them in. They'll get it. Sometimes it helps my birds if I physically put them on one of the roosts in the coop, too.

    I hope this helps! Good luck!
  7. MigraineMan

    MigraineMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2017
    Frederick, Maryland
    We moved from the brooder to the coop with a 4-day lock-in to make the adjustment. There were many squackles the first day. Things settled down for the remaining three. Took an hour for the birds to gather the courage to leave the coop when we opened the door to the run. All the birds would auto-load themselves back into the coop until ...

    ... we had an "incident" with the neighbor's dogs attacking the coop two days ago. We called Animal Control. They issued a "control your dogs" citation. Unfortunately, he showed up this evening with the dogs in tow ... desperate to demonstrate how wonderful and harmless they are. The chickens saw the dogs and freaked. They were visibly torqued even after everyone left. This evening, the roo and two hens were out in the run well after dark. I had to physically put them in the coop (and they weren't having any of it.) Might have to try to re-train them.
  8. Dcherie13

    Dcherie13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2017
    Thanks for all the responses! There will not be 19 full-grown chickens and our coop and run, we have a small coop that we are going to put probably four of our birds in and there will probably be about 12 ground hands in the large coop. We currently have at least four or five roosters that we will be re-homing as we really just want to keep pullets .

    Thank you for all of the info about coop training the newbies! It sounds like we can keep them separated and safe while they get used to each other and they will kind of learn to follow the others into the new coop as well.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My gut says 8 birds about right for that setup.

    What breed is involved? I have a high school with a setup that is very similar and they got young birds to use opening well. A little restrictive feeding may be in order. If breed is appropriate, then you may be able to forgo using ramp altogether.
  10. Gamma

    Gamma Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2014
    I am also a new chicken lover. I have 4 Buff's I've raised since they are two days old. Everything has been going great, it's now time to move them out in their coop and run. I've have been reading everything I can, to make this adventure a success. My husband bought me a prefab coop, which on paper looked amazing. Most
    of the post say to contain the chicks in the coop until they realize that is their new home. The area would be much smaller then the plastic swimming pool brooder they are used to... there are 2 perches and a large nesting box. I don't think I could keep food inside the coop... seems to me containing them would only cause more stress. Three get along great and 1 likes to be left alone. There run is fenced and quite large. I have read numerous times the coop is only for sleeping, so it doesn't need a lot of space...I just want them to continue to be as happy as they have been in my house, as we transition outside.

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