help my hen into her house!


10 Years
May 19, 2009
I made a tractor entirely out of post- remodel scraps, and I love it! There's a roost made out of a pussy willow branch, a nest box on either side of the door, and a removeable floor for the winter. In the morning, I open the shutters to let the birds out to play, and I put the ladder on the outside so the banties can get back in. Works great for everyone but the Silkie. Phyllis doesn't do ramps. I put her in her nest at night; I put her on the ground in the morning. I set her on the ramp, at the very end, to encourage her, but she just sits there until I help her up/down. I gave her a box on the ground, but now I have to move it when I move the pen. Why can't she use the ramp? Her head is a big puff with a beak sticking out, so maybe she can't see it well enough. Should I make it wider? Install railings? Less steep? Install an elevator with a Cochin doorman? Sweet as she is, I hate catering to her special needs. Can someone help my hen into her house by herself?
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To me it looks like the angle is a bit steep. Maybe slide a cement block or bricks under it and elevate it a bit...see if that makes a difference.

Then again, she could just be spoiled and is using Silkie mind control on you...Silkies are evil you know?
Go with the elevator.

Not really sure, maybe trim the feathers around the eyes so she can see better. Just guessing.

Imp-Great avatar catwalk
How would she get up onto the cement block? Seriously, she's that prissy. I'm thinking of building her a chariot and having the cat pull her around. I haven't figured out how she'll steer yet.
Her toenails are a bit long, too. She was just in a petting zoo, and I didn't want cut nails to scratch the kids, and I didn't have time for a full manicure, even without the French tips. Maybe I can fix that.
That is waaaaaaay too steep a ramp for a Silkie. She could seriously hurt herself trying to get up or down. Plus, she will have a vision problem with that large crest. Some of my silkies can hop a bit, so on my one elevated coop (which is not as tall as yours) i have a wooden box, about the size of a nest box, and the ramp extends from the coop and onto that box. Those silkies walk down the very slight grade of the ramp, onto the box, then hop onto the ground.

My showgirl pen just has a large nest box under their coop, which is a converted rabbit hutch. Those girls are full grown and can see beneath their crests. They simply hop up onto the box then into their coop.

My older silkies have a playhouse coop, flat on the ground. That is perfect for them. Another set of silkies have a playhouse coop that is about 6 inches up from the ground. One of my large-crested silkies in that pen has a devil of a time getting up into the coop. i'm going to have to build a ramp for her, as it's super difficult for her to maneuver that little bitty obstacle.

And . . . Silkies aren't prissy, they're special.
Maybe I can build a box into the side of the pen, so it can go along when I move it. I'm worried about the winter, though. I'll need another Cochin to shovel her walk. Do Silkies stay inside during the winter?

i have all my silkies in covered pens. They can get cold or they can get wet, but you don't want them cold and wet. When it gets super windy and rainy in the winter, i use clear plastic sheeting and tarp the pens on the sides with the prevailing winds. i have string lights inside so it doesn't get too gloomy. And then i make them scrambled eggs and oatmeal to warm them up in the morning. But since silkies are broody 90% of the time, they probably won't come out of the coop in the winter anyways.
We just built a new chicken tractor last week to quarantine our 3 new silkies. They are young. One is about 3 months and the others are about 2 months. I was concerned about their ability to work the ramp, so we put the little "steps" much closer together than in our big coop. We also stapled hardware cloth on the ramp under the "step" strips. I thought this would give them extra traction in case their little legs weren't big enough to go from step to step. Well, the first few days I was convinced that our efforts were in vain. I couldn't get anyone to use the ramp. They wouldn't come down the ramp in the morning, and in the evening they weren't going up to the coop

But the truth, I've come to realize, is that silkies are evil. From a window in the house, I spotted the smallest of the 3 cruising right up there. But guess what, they still required an escort to the coop this evening! I think they play dumb and helpless to get whatever they want. And I have a feeling it will work. I have fallen so in love with the biggest of the silkies, it's not even funny. I'm missing her right now! She's out there in that little tractor with all that fuzzy hair needing a good petting! My advice is make the ramp less steep and maybe add extra steps... Then succumb to Princess Pretty Feet and STILL put her up and down each day! HA!
Nashchic, you are so right! I'm sure I'm going to make every accomodation for her and still personally tuck her in. I know she's not just using me, because I've seen her stretching her head up and and trying to jump into her box! She really just can't do it! I'm not generally sentimental and cutsey about animals, but I've always been a sucker for charm, and Phyllis radiates it like sunshine.

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