First night outside questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pipsqueekPDX, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. pipsqueekPDX

    pipsqueekPDX Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2011
    So tonight I am leaving the girls outside in their coop for the first time. All week they've spent the days out in the run and I've brought them in to sleep in the brooder when it gets dark. They're 6 weeks old now (3 Barred Rocks), so I think they're ready. It just got dark (its about 7pm) so I tried to herd them into the hen house and they weren't having it. So I picked each up and put them in the hen house from the top. They were chirping like they were in distress, but I let them freak out, and they seem to have quieted down now. SO, a few questions because this is my first time raising chickens. 1. Should they eventually get used to going in the hen house at night and not need forced? 2. I'm locking the access door to the run, where their food and water this right? Should I wake up at the crack of dawn to let them out, or will they be alright in there w/o food until 8/9am? 3. should they be so freaked out? Will this eventually not happen? 4. If i give them a treat in there, can they even see it? 5. If they fall of the perch and end up sleeping on the ground (which is pine shavings on wood...not bare ground), is that ok?

    I think that's all my questions. I nearly gave up and brought them in for the night with all the stressed out chirps...but I think they should be ready to sleep out there. Thanks for any answers you all can give me! This forum is always to helpful

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  2. goldies99

    goldies99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    they will get use to being out side.....they probably wont eat a treat at new chicks piled up in the corner to sleep till they got older....
    i would leave them in the coop in the morning and not let them out so early....once they know that is their new home they will go in to sleep on their
    own in the evening..........if you only have 3 chicks i would probably bring them in at night for a while longer!!!!...its cold outside!!!....but thats just
    beacuse i couldnt stand not knowing what they were doing out there!!!!!!....they will be fine!........good luck with your chicks!!!!
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    This is my first time raising chicks (been raising ducks and quail for a few years though), and mine are also just over six weeks (silkies). I started leaving them out overnight a couple weeks ago. Mine also expressed extreme distress the first time I left them in a new place overnight, but they got over it quickly. After a couple of days, they acted like it was perfectly normal and kind of liked their new place.

    They are now in the shed at night, and I've got them *sometimes* going in on their own. I use bird seed as treats, and they've learned that when I lean down and call, "Here, chickie chickie chickie chickie!" that I've got treats and they come running. I have gradually trained them to hop up into the shed to get their treats, then I sprinkle them on the floor and shut the door behind them.

    One thing to consider, is that you should break them in to cooler temps gradually. It's not only a factor of how many feathers they have, but also what they've been used to. If you bring them from a 70 degree brooder into a 30 degree coop all at once, they may chill. If you can find a way to gradually acclimate them, that will be better.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  4. BlazeJester

    BlazeJester Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Midway, GA
    I've found my chickens - especially the BRs - to have a goldfish mentality. After a day or two of being penned, they act like they've been penned their whole life. After a couple days without a door on the coop, they act as though they've been free ranging forever. Just do what you do and they'll get used to it; they're resilient.
  5. EggsForIHOP

    EggsForIHOP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    I will NEVER forget the first time I put our very first chickens out for the night - set them all in the coop, shut the door...and they all huddled by the door looking at me like "Hey - we don't go in here now - dark time means in the house lady!" They HATED it and I felt guilty as heck! I kept going out to check on them, feeling like I had abandoned them...but once I got all the dust cleaned up in the house from brooding them in my dining room and they got over being put out, we were all happier! [​IMG]

    Give it a few days, and they will adjust! It's just really hard the first time...after that it gets easier!
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I put them in an outbuilding (brooder house) from day old. Whenever you put them out, keep them in there a few days before you let them out so they imprint on where to sleep. When you first let them out limit how far they can roam so they don't get lost till they associate that building with the surroundings. I don't put them on a roost. When they get old enough to get the urge, they'll hop/fly up on their own. Young birds prefer to huddle on the floor - shortly after the first one goes up, the rest will follow. They don't eat or drink when sleeping or when it's dark. I like to have food and water available when they get up because they're hungry and thirsty. That could mean letting them out early or giving in the coop.
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Addie, Welcome From Portland too . The weather is fine rain sucks but hey we live in PDX right. At 6 weeks they are fully feathered and sure its OK to put them out. I am sure you are sick of the dust they make and the intrusion of 6 week old chicks getting more than real active by now. No more heat!! they will start to build the down feathers to keep plenty warm around the PDX area. Try baiting them with treats. They will get used to the coop. I would keep them in the coop for a few days without letting them out and let them redecorate. Mine last all night without food or water. They are blind in the dark and can not see it. We let our kids out before 7:30 but you can do anything. They will not fall of the perch. You'll see it will all get going for you and you must let them figure it out.
    Training them to come to you with food;

    1 find the foods they love best.

    2 start the conditioning by doing the same thing lets say at 8am and 4pm each. At 8am you walk out to the birds and at the gate ring a bike bell. (mine is on the gate and I walk in or around with it) or whatever, a shake a can with rocks or penny's in it. Walk over and sit down chair or ground but remember we are doing the exact thing every day. ring the bell again and start put a lot of treats on the ground and around you. Then while eating you will ring the bell a couple of time so they hear the bell before, up to the feeding and then at the feeding.

    3 At 4 pm you are going to duplicate doing the very same thing.

    4. Continue for the next few day like or up to a week. Alway ring the bell at the gate, siting down and feeding

    5 next reduce the amount of feed thrown around to closer to you always closer. Now less food so they feel they need to get it first. urgency

    6. next place some of the foods on your ankle, knee and lap and start baiting them to you so they know the hand that is feeding them. trust

    7. continue for a few days luring them close to you so you can begin to touch tails and the backs of the your kids. Your doing good now creating trust.

    8 if they will let you start stroking each or the ones that will let you the ones that do not no pressure they will or will not come on there own.

    9 Great job!! because the next time they are in the yard ring the bell for the first time and guess what they will come running to where ever you are
  8. pipsqueekPDX

    pipsqueekPDX Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2011
    Thanks so much everyone! Very helpful. Especially you, Steve, Its nice that you know what kind of weather I'm dealing with etc. I went out around 8 this morning and let them into the run to get food and water. When I opened the door I half expected them to come racing out, but they didn't. I opened the coop roof up and they were all chilling on the perches seemingly still sleeping. I went out an hour later and they were stretchin their legs in the run. As far as keeping them in the coop, I don't think its necessary, because the first day I put em out there they would run into the henhouse any time they got spooked (crows, squirrels etc)...I'm pretty sure they already know that's their safe space. Thanks for all the encouragement, and yes, its really nice having them out of the living room! I will work on them coming when I call (thanks for the tips, Steve), and I hope that in no time they'll be putting themselves to bed. One more question! When they get to the point of putting themselves to bed in the henhouse, I should still lock the door on them right? to keep them safe from predators? Thanks everyone, so so helpful

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