Girls are VERY upset their first night out! Is this normal?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Karen_at_LittleBrook, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. Karen_at_LittleBrook

    Karen_at_LittleBrook Songster

    Feb 20, 2010
    Rome, NY
    So this morning was the first time the chicks were introduced to the inside of their new coop. We put them in the man door, with the pop door open to the run. They all hung around inside for about 15 minutes until they figured out that they could come out the pop door. I sat in the run waiting for them. They spent a nice long day enjoying their new, grassy run. They found a dirt corner and had dust bathes.... enjoyed watermelon & corn on the cob... just a great day. I was however in the run with them much of the day. [​IMG] I attempted a couple of times throughout the day to show them how to use the ramp to get into the coop but they didnt want anything to do with it.

    Come evening time, I sat and watched them for signs from that they were ready to go to bed so I could show them up the ramp again. Again no interest... which I expected. So, with my daughter inside the coop I attempted to catch all 18 one by one and pass them thru the pop door. Well I'm sure u can guess how that went.... for every one chick I passed thru two ran back out....[​IMG] Ughhh. These chicks (6 wks old) are all very used to both my daughter and myself. We have spent a ton of time with them, and most have become "lap" chickens, so I had expected them to be happy to see her inside the coop with their food and water. Once they were all secured inside, I left both the small window and the vent bar open for fresh air until just before dark. We hung a strand of tiny white Christmas lights around the outside of the 6 pane decorative window so they would have some light.... nights in the house in the brooder they always had their red brooder light so I was worried about no light at all! Anyway, when my DH and I went out to check on them just as it was getting dark and to close the window a bit they were really raising hell in their! I could hear them cheeping from 20 feet away! I peeked in the window and spoke to them and they all started fluttering and flying at the screened window! (soft screen inside, hardware cloth outside) It was so sad! They were really upset. I went into the coop to try and sooth them... they all ran over to me, tried to get out the man door and continued peeping loud as can be. I thought great... THIS noise wont attract preditors or anything.... I went back outside, closed up the large vent bar and adjusted the window.... it had been a very warm day and temps expected to be 65 over night... worried about leaving to much open, not enough.... drove myself crazy all day. I almost backed out of even doing it at all tonight, but they are all so large, feathered & flying. Everytime I opened the brooder they were all over my laundry room, so it was time! It was just so heart breaking to hear them "crying" like that and so see them flying into the screen on the window [​IMG] Yep... I pretty much cried. Once it was fully dark my DH took the dog out and checked on them... he said all was quiet. But he knew that I was upset... I asked him if he was sure, not just saying that so I wouldnt be upset.... he said no, they are all quiet. I had hoped that once it was dark, except for their little christmas lights they would settle down and go to sleep. Hubby says they have.... I know if I go back out and ck I may not come back in![​IMG]

    In reality, the coop is not that much different than the brooder, just larger. I am still using their same waterers and feeders, pine shavings, 2x4's on the floor for them to sit on til they learn to hop up to the big girl roosts.... I just dont know why they were freaking out like that? Is it normal??? I can tell you, as I sit hear I miss hearing their little sounds from the laundry room and popping in to check on them. What a sad sap I am!

    I dont think Ive ever seen a post where anyone has said their girls were upset like that their first night.... what do you think?????

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    This is pretty normal. I don't light the coop once my chicks move outside. Once things are dark, they usually settle down, so it might be a good idea to turn off the lights you have around the window.

    They will adjust--you'll see! Don't worry![​IMG]
  3. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    My chicks cried their little beaks off the first night out. I had to shut the door and run away, I felt so bad. They will be OK!!!! [​IMG]
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I agree with the other posters. Bid them goodnight, lock the door and walk away. Chickens don't like change. They'll get over it.
  5. NYRIR

    NYRIR Songster

    May 13, 2010
    I know EXACTLY how you feel! Mine were also spoiled...and WAY too big to stay in. Did you keep them in the coop for a few days before letting them out? I left mine in the coop for four LONG,TORTUOUS days.Every night at dusk they all went beserk! I felt absolutely AWFUL. They would crawl and step all over each other peeping like mad and huddled in the was heartbreaking.Every time I went to the window...they flew up and banged into it to try to get to me! I would be soooo tempted to bring them in. Then DH would say "A chicken needs to be a chicken!" I would pout a bit...then walk begrudgingly away from my babies.

    It lasted about a week...with each night less stressful.They are now 3 months old and all sleep on the roosts.As for going up the ramp? All I can say is...I think they need to be left in there for a few days and nights without letting them out so they know this is home.Mine went in on their own after 3 days of being let out during the day.(and after the initial four in the coop 24/7.) It WILL get better! Just be strong!! After all, would you really want full-grown chickens in the house? [​IMG]

    I wish you well with your transition [​IMG]
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I experience the same worry every time I put chicks outside for the first night. I have four of them going through it TONIGHT, as I type. It's not dark yet here; still have another hour and a half to go for that.

    Really, the best thing to do IS just walk away.

    I do things a bit differently, though: I put them in the coop and don't let them out into the run for several days. They need to learn the coop is their safety zone, the place to sleep, before they get to run around the run or yard. It's not unlike putting them in the brooder, where they stay until they start to get out of it. FIRST is staying, THEN is getting out.

    With that method, they are much easier to get back into the coop at night - no chasing! They already want to go there when it starts to get dark.

    I've only checked on them about four times so far, but they're in the "investigate the coop" stage, plus eating and drinking from their familiar feeder and waterer.

    One big difference is that the house has been air-conditioned to around 80 degrees, and it's 96 degrees outside right at this minute.

    I'll be going out to put some chickens back in their brand new coop (they spent the first night in IT last night, when I gave their old coop away and had a bigger, better one delivered) and locking up the door to the Duck House and making a final check on my broody BO and her solo chick, so yes, I will be checking on the girls experiencing their very first night out as well. But I know they'll be okay, even if they peep a lot. They did that in the brooder every night when I turned off the light and said good-night, too.

    (But I bet I'll be checking on THEM first thing, very early tomorrow morning!!)
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  7. serena763

    serena763 In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2010
    THis is the first night for my chicks in the coop. I spent all day showing them how to get up and down the ladder they seemed to "get it". When we left for the ball game they were inside the coop eating and sleeping...should have put a door up to keep them inside..we came back and they were huddled in the corner of the run! Lucky for me I checked on them..had to crawl in the run and put them in the coop one by one. Blocked the opening into the run...they were peeping and carrying on for a while now. I will go check on them ONE more time...then they are on their own!! [​IMG]

  8. Karen_at_LittleBrook

    Karen_at_LittleBrook Songster

    Feb 20, 2010
    Rome, NY
    Thank you all!!!! Im glad this tends to be a normal thing.... I went out about 11 oclock last night to ck on them one more time... all was quiet. But there on the window sill in the glow of the christmas lights was my Shannon! She is the absolute lap chicken... like a cat or a puppy... anyway, she was sitting there all alone looking out the window while the others slept on the floor. She was just fine, tho. OMG it was tough to walk away.

    So after a long and worried night for me, I was out at first light to check on them. I peeked in the window and to my relief 4 girls, including Shannon were perched on one of the roosts and all the rest were milling around on the floor. [​IMG]

    I gave them about another hour before I went in to feed and water. Oh boy were they happy to see me. Everyone was fine, and none the worse for wear. I wish I had thought to keep them only inside the coop for a few day before opening them up to the run....
  9. Coreyboy18

    Coreyboy18 Chirping

    Jun 17, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    My chickies had a light on in the brooder all of the time. I didn't really like keeping it on because I would hate to have it light for 24/7. So finally, once they were old enough, I started turning off the light at night. The first night, they went crazy and started chirping their little heads off, then it got better as the nights went on. Now, when I turn off the light, they know it is bedtime and they normally huddle up and go to sleep. I let the natural sunlight wake them in the morning and have stopped using a light in the brooder completely. They are about four weeks old now and tonight will be the first night in the coop. I have been putting them in the run with the coop each day to get the used to it, and they can make their way out of the coop down the ladder. I haven't seen them go into it though. I'm kinda sad and excited to be moving them outside. It is really hot here too, but during the hottest part of the day, the coop is still only 88 degrees so it should be fine. I will put their feeder and water in there tonight, and turn the fan on and bid them farewell. I hope all goes well. [​IMG]
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I'm sure they'll be fine. My chicks are on our screened porch, with a draft guard around their brooder. They have been without a heat source since they were two weeks old. It's simply too hot to use one. They go to sleep at dusk and get up with the sun, way earlier than I do. They are now 3 1/2 weeks old and roost on the edge of the brooder instead of inside of it anymore.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by