First Night in the Coop! Guidance Please.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
Rhode Island
Well, last night our little former fluff-balls (now 8 weeks old) spent their first night in their new coop. I think my kids were more worried than I was (they were in our room at 6 am asking for us to go check on the chickens), but all was well.

Two questions I have for the folks out there:

1. Our coop is a 'Saltbox' style coop which is raised up on stilts with a run built below it. There is a ladder/ramp that allows the birds to come down from the coop into the run. However, none of the chickens have used the ramp yet. THey jump out of the coop in the morning and I have to pick them up and put them in the coop at night. How long does it take before they start going up and down on their own?

2. How long should we let the chickens stay in their new coop before we let them out to free range for a bit. I was hoping to let stay in for a few days until they got into a routine (i.e. heading into the coop at a certain time) before I let them out, as I would like them to wander back into the run/coop after free ranging. Does anyone have any suggestions or guidance for how to get the chickens to learn were their new home is? I'm afraid if I let them out, I'll have to chase them all down at dusk and get them back in the coop, which is not something I'm interested in doing. Please let me know your thoughts!


I think I left mine in for about a week maybe 5 days. Then put their food and water in the run and physically put them in the run with it. I recall putting mealworms on the ramp to help them brave the first steps and they figured out right away to go back in the coop at night. They might sleep on the floor for awhile but they should roost pretty quickly.
Depends on the chickens. Some may take a little longer to get the idea that they need to come back to the coop after free-ranging. I'd say start with about 3 days of keeping them in the coop/run area and turn them loose. If they make it back to the coop, great, if not, start over and leave them in for a few more days.
As for getting them to use the ramp, have you tried just putting them on it to see if they will follow it up & in? The mealworm idea sounds like a good one.
Thanks for the input - I apprecaite it.

All the girls stayed in their run after dark tonight, so I have to pick them up individually and place them in the coop. They seem afraid of the use the ramp, although are starting to get more used to it as we've been placing foor high up on the ramp for them to go get.


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