First night in the coop... Is there always this amount of drama?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Moxiechick, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Moxiechick

    Moxiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2010
    So today was the day! At 15 weeks of age, the girls are finally in the coop. They had been living in a sectioned off part of our smallest bedroom. [​IMG] It has taken us 6 months to build the coop and today it is officially finished enough to safely house chickens. [​IMG] We never thought it would take this long, but DP has been working a lot of hours and she is the one with the best carpentry skills (although I learned quite a bit this summer). This is a good time to get them acclimated, as we are having a bit of a warm spell this week. Their "bedroom" window has been open, so we haven't turned the heat on in the house. Right now it is warmer outside than it has been inside for the past few weeks! We still have a few finishing touches to make, plus the run to build, and will post pictures then.
    I'm hoping the girls like it, although it was hard to tell when I saw them last. We got them situated around 5pm. They seemed happy enough... they walked all around pecking at things and looking intently at everything! They were so curious! We tried to teach them about the ramp going up to the roost, by spreading FD mealworms on it, but I think they're still learning. I may need to add more footholds, as they were sliding a bit. (There is a about a 5 inch space between each foothold.) They are used to having a roost, so at least that isn't new. All in all, they seemed quite happy with the set up, until it started getting dark and they realized they weren't being brought back to the house, like we usually do after letting them have outside time in the fenced in veggie garden area.

    Since it was starting to get dark, I decided that I should encourage them to go up onto the roost. I held out a mealworm to coax the girls over, bending down to hold it over the ramp. All at once, Hazel, my BR, Kitty, my SS, and Sassafrass, one of the EEs, decided to jump on my back all at once! Sassafrass didn't quite make it as she bounced off one of the other two. I tried to get the two that are on my back to go on the ramp by twisting and dipping my back toward the ramp. This causes a bunch of squawking. I crane my neck around to see Kitty doing a dance on Hazel's back, and neither one of them seem happy about this! Eventually I got them on my arms, but they refused to step on the ramp. They were holding my fingers like preschool children being dropped off to kindergarten for the first time! Finally, I was able to coax/help every bird up the ramp.
    There they sat, looking at me imploringly. I started to back away towards the door, muttering soothingly to them, when Lola, the EE who is usually standoffish, flies the four feet separating us and lands squarely on my chest! This also causes Maple, the Buff Orpington and Sassafrass to fly up and try to land on the windowsills. Sassafrass lands ok, and manages to teeter ungracefully. Maple is clinging to the hardware cloth like a big buff spider. [​IMG] She has caught her toe and can't get down. I set Lola on the roost, and gently lift Maple off the hardware cloth and set her back on the roost, cooing gently to her. Hopefully there is a learning curve regarding the unperchability of hardware cloth! [​IMG] I set Sassafrass on the roost, and most are finally settling down, but Lola is trying to squirm under Sassafrass and Shirley, the CW. I move Sophie, the SLW over to a free spot, as her neighbors, Kitty and Delilah the BA, have settled down and there is barely room for her to stand, let alone sit. Delilah takes this as a sign she should venture briefly on the lower windowsill, but quickly got back onto the roost again. Good bird! The settled ones are purring at this point. I've never heard a chicken purr! Everyone is roosting comfortably with the exception of; Sassafrass, who has to stand because Lola keeps goosing her; Lola who is still agitated and trying to get under her neighbors, and Maple, who is standing exactly where I placed her after rescuing her. She hasn't budged an inch. I decided to make my exit at this time, and hope for the best.

    I checked on them 1/2 hour later by shining a redlight flashlight in the window. The seem to be comfortable, but are not asleep. I'll be making another inspection before I go to bed.
    I am seriously considering getting a webcam or baby monitor for the coop!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
  2. LittleHouseOnThePrairie

    LittleHouseOnThePrairie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 18, 2010
    Central Iowa
    Oh, your entry made me laugh just visualizing the chaos! But congratulations on completing your coop and moving the girls out of the house. Guess this makes you an empty nester?? [​IMG] I'm sure they will settle in just fine. It only took my little ladies a day and they had laid claim to the coop like they had never lived any where else!
  3. schmije

    schmije Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    You paint a pretty funny picture. Chicken TV is a favorite pasttime at our house. And I just love it when they purr. They sound so happy. Congrats on getting your coop finished and your bedroom back.

    And to answere your question - yes, there is always this much drama. [​IMG]
  4. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    It seems as though a pillow fight would have erupted if only they had some linen around some of those feathers!!! [​IMG] Funny gals!
  5. tamtam84

    tamtam84 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2010
    SE Missouri
    I remember the first night my 8 girls spent in their outdoor coop/run. We had begun taking them outside for a few hours at a time so they could get used to it, but there was major drama when they first spent the night out there! I thought they would go into the coop at dark on their own, but when I checked on them, they were standing at the door to the run waiting for me to take them back inside to their home! So my husband and I put them each in the coop on their roost and locked them in. It took a couple nights of doing this, but they finally got the hang of it.

    Even today, though, there is still a little bit drama every night when they are each trying to get the prime spot on the roosts in the coop! There's a lot of shuffling and weird noises going on for about 5-10 minutes until they all get settled.

    I can tell you that they absolutely HATE any change in their coop at first! We use pine shavings in the coop, and one day last fall we put some dry leaves in there as well. They wouldn't go in their coop at all and when it started to get dark, they were still out in the run, scared to go into the coop because the leaves were new to them. We had to force them each into the coop and lock them in. The next night they went in on their own as it got dark. So beware if you make any changes to the coop, because they hate change! It seems not so bad if you make changes early in the morning so they have all day to get used to it.
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    My chicks are pretty quite until it's time to roost. They start a ruckus & it seems will never end . Their falling off the roost crawling back up etc. Finally, situated and off to bed they go.
  7. Moxiechick

    Moxiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2010
    Thanks everyone. [​IMG]
    Well, when I checked them last night before going to bed they were all still on the roost, with the exception of Sassafrass, who was in the poop tray on the poop board. Not too bad, considering. Before going to work this morning, I brought them some bread as a reward for being so brave! When I got home, they were quite content and happy, especially after getting some mealworms and wildbird seed. Well, they must taking all the good associations to heart, because when I went out just before dusk... they were all on the roost except Sophie and Shirley, who were in a poop tray. (I may have to start a thread asking how to keep them out of this area...) I was so proud of them! Not sure whether they used the dreaded ramp or flew up there, but they did it. [​IMG]

    Here are some pictures from yesterday, before the panic set in.

    Very curious about everything!

    This was the best picture I could get of all eight of them. Those little heads move so fast!

    Hazel inspecting the floor, while everyone else peers out the windows.

    A (mostly) non blurry shot of a very curious Kitty!
  8. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    They sure are pretty. And your coop looks so clean, at least for now. Chicken drama....makes for good chicken TV...
  9. ZombieChickens

    ZombieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have found my girls to be very dramatic. When we first put our doghouse coop together, we built a small platform in the run, above the door of the coop. It was meant to add some shade and keep that area of the run dry during rain. Since it was warm out, they decided to sleep there. A few weeks ago it started to get chilly at night, and the dumb broads wouldn't go inside! So I took the platform away. WHAT DRAMA!! They flapped and flopped and squaked for 1/2 hour or so. Our little banty kept flying up to the top of the run, looking for somewhere to roost, and almost hung herself in the process. All was well after I put them in the coop (about 5 times), and everything has been fine since. Drama queens.
  10. tamtam84

    tamtam84 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2010
    SE Missouri
    Your girls are beautiful! My speckled sussex looks exactly like yours! I love your SLW, too. I have a GLW but next on my chicken wish list is a SLW [​IMG]

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