Encouraging the flock in a new Coop

Rtdowdy

In the Brooder
Dec 14, 2020
38
23
41
Wilmington NC
happy Christmas Eve! We have a group of 13 - 5 in the 10 week range and 8 in the 8 week range. They’re new to each other groups introduced a week and a half ago. The littles are very happy in the new coop and enjoying going out in the yard. The big 5 are not so excited to be outside and frequently just hover at the door which prevents the littles from going back inside or outside. I’m moving food and water out during the day to encourage them to come out. Is there anything else I can do to encourage them to come out? The bigs are still not 100% friendly with the littles but are progressively accepting but the door seams to be the issue to getting everyone quickly inside. TIA
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,409
38,568
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Colorado Rockies
I had this same problem years ago with one-year olds picking off the eight-week olds coming though the pop hole. It was a newly remodeled coop, but it had only the original pop hole. I got out my tools and cut a new pop hole in the opposite end of the coop, adding the braces and supports and the door later. It was an immediate success and solved the problem by providing an alternate entrance which the younger ones immediately took advantage of.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,074
22,798
907
Southeast Louisiana
The way I read this they have been in that new coop together for a week and a half. No one is getting hurt so I call that a tremendous success.

It is not a surprise that the two groups are staying apart, that might go on for another two or three months before they truly merge into one flock but as long as no one is getting hurt who cares. Generally when integrating we suggest widely separated eating and drinking stations so they can all eat and drink and no one goes without. In your case maybe in the coop and in the run.

The way I understand this the older group are blocking the door all day. The younger cannot go in or out during the day. If you feed and water both inside and out is this a problem. If this is what is going on as pong as they can all eat and drink I'd probably be patient and try to let them work it out.

They may not be letting them go in the coop at bedtime. If this is the issue I don't have a great solution. I think Azygous does, I love that second door, but that is not practical for a lot of people.
 
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Rtdowdy

In the Brooder
Dec 14, 2020
38
23
41
Wilmington NC
Thanks everyone! I’m going to see if we can concoct a second door. If they’re amicable - mild pecking but not injuring can/will they roost together or should I make sure there are separate roots too?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,409
38,568
1,142
Colorado Rockies
They may arrange themselves in their own sub groups. But if you end up having a lot of conflict over roosting space, you might try partitioning the perch. These Welsummer pullets were all brooder mates, but when it came time to learn to roost, they couldn't do it without constant squabbling. I hung stiff curtains over the perch, and it solved the problem. I used this system again this year when three pullets were getting bullied. I hung a feed sack three feet from the end of the perch and they had their own private space that way. Eventually you'll be able to take down the dividers as they learn to integrate into the flock.
P1010007.JPG
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,074
22,798
907
Southeast Louisiana
Thanks everyone! I’m going to see if we can concoct a second door. If they’re amicable - mild pecking but not injuring can/will they roost together or should I make sure there are separate roots too?

During the season I usually have three or four different aged juvenile groups in my main coop. The adults sleep on the main roosts. The older juveniles sleep on my juvenile roost. The other juvenile groups sleep in separate spots on the coop floor. I let them spread themselves out and decide where they want to sleep. As long as they are somewhere predator safe and not sleeping in my nests I don't care where they sleep.

I seem to be posting this photo a lot lately. You are not the only one having issues this time of the year. I used to have a regular problem where juveniles were sleeping in the nests so I put in this juvenile roost. It is lower than the main roosts and horizontally separated by a few feet. Obviously it is higher than the nests. On the rare occasions a juvenile does try to sleep in a nest I just toss them out onto the floor to show them that the nests are not a safe place to sleep. I let them find another place to sleep that they consider safe. You only have the two separate age groups. If you have a segment of the roosts that the adults aren't using that might be a good place to put them if they start sleeping in the nests.

Juvenile Roost.JPG


I try to intervene as little as I can and just let them work it out. There are a lot of different things that can possibly happen. That doesn't mean they absolutely will happen. I try to not fix a problem before I have problem, if it's not broken don't fix it type of thing.

Your two age groups aren't that far apart. They may be OK sleeping on the roosts together. If they are not and you are not happy where they are sleeping then you need to do something. Hopefully we've given you some ideas that might work.

Good luck!
 

Rtdowdy

In the Brooder
Dec 14, 2020
38
23
41
Wilmington NC
They may arrange themselves in their own sub groups. But if you end up having a lot of conflict over roosting space, you might try partitioning the perch. These Welsummer pullets were all brooder mates, but when it came time to learn to roost, they couldn't do it without constant squabbling. I hung stiff curtains over the perch, and it solved the problem. I used this system again this year when three pullets were getting bullied. I hung a feed sack three feet from the end of the perch and they had their own private space that way. Eventually you'll be able to take down the dividers as they learn to integrate into the flock. View attachment 2462629
Wow this is really impressive. I’ll certainly keep this on note!
 

Rtdowdy

In the Brooder
Dec 14, 2020
38
23
41
Wilmington NC
During the season I usually have three or four different aged juvenile groups in my main coop. The adults sleep on the main roosts. The older juveniles sleep on my juvenile roost. The other juvenile groups sleep in separate spots on the coop floor. I let them spread themselves out and decide where they want to sleep. As long as they are somewhere predator safe and not sleeping in my nests I don't care where they sleep.

I seem to be posting this photo a lot lately. You are not the only one having issues this time of the year. I used to have a regular problem where juveniles were sleeping in the nests so I put in this juvenile roost. It is lower than the main roosts and horizontally separated by a few feet. Obviously it is higher than the nests. On the rare occasions a juvenile does try to sleep in a nest I just toss them out onto the floor to show them that the nests are not a safe place to sleep. I let them find another place to sleep that they consider safe. You only have the two separate age groups. If you have a segment of the roosts that the adults aren't using that might be a good place to put them if they start sleeping in the nests.

View attachment 2462987

I try to intervene as little as I can and just let them work it out. There are a lot of different things that can possibly happen. That doesn't mean they absolutely will happen. I try to not fix a problem before I have problem, if it's not broken don't fix it type of thing.

Your two age groups aren't that far apart. They may be OK sleeping on the roosts together. If they are not and you are not happy where they are sleeping then you need to do something. Hopefully we've given you some ideas that might work.

Good luck!
This idea may also work. I will need to install my nesting boxes in a couple weeks and could def put some shorter makeshift roosts above/beside. I’ve seen the normal mild pecking and some stalking/chasing near the food - a couple harder goes at the more brave babies. The littles basically just run off immediately and all group together. I think the biggest issue is over food and if I move the food out of the coop for everyone they might embrace sharing space better.
 

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