free rangers, or where's my blankie?


8 Years
Jul 1, 2011
My 5 week olds are now sleeping in a protected area away from the other chickens on the second floor of their coop. The only way in or out is by human hands, so the others can't get to them, or they accidently get out. Every morning I lift up the top of their hinged roof and place them inside their outside pen, cover their pen with net, and they are happy. Not this morning. I'm sure they planned it. As soon as I lifted the roof, en mass all but three flew out. Had a blast. Put their food and water dish out for them separately from the other chickens. The older ones just ignored them until they spotted the babes food water dishes and thought they had something better. I had to shoo them away. The youngsters hunted for bugs, tasted various growing things, then had separate panic attacks when they saw their pen. All wanted't...yes...maybe..., crying on the outside looking in. Some waited by the pen until I lifted and put them in, others changed their minds and I had to play run and catch. They settled back in pretty quick. Had to laugh at one whom found her way into the coop and kicked up a huge fuss seeing her sisters having fun, and not knowing how to get out. I worked with her a bit to encourage her that a doorway has its uses. I think I will try this again late afternoon. Went much better than if I planned it myself, fussing over different senarios. Nice.
I hate to say it but while my chickens are very entertaining, I can't claim that they are very smart. There are two ways in and out of their run. One is a big man-sized door and the second is a little hinged door about 24" wide by 18" tall that I installed when I built the run, planning on adding on to it later. They have all had plenty of experience entering and exiting through both doors, but still there are days when 6 or 7 of the 8 are out of the run and the other(s) are running frantically back and forth along the fence line trying to join their flock mates and they can't seem to figure out that they have to go to one of the doors...even though it is may be in the other direction from where they order to get out.
with mine, it was one of the 5 week olds, and they've never been inside the bottom of the coop. All the walls of the bottom are heavy wiring. From their perspective, they can see just as well as from the doorway. Maybe its the same thing with the other chickens. They tunnel vision and see only what is outside. Oddly though, the process changes if for instance a hawk flies in their area. They are very quick to think of what to do. Hummm. Protective instincts take up more brain matter?

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