Help with introducing chicks to their run

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mrspower, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. mrspower

    mrspower New Egg

    Oct 27, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    I moved my girls (and maybe a boy) into their coop this weekend. They were moved into the hen house on Thursday, where they stayed locked in until Saturday morning. Their door was opened to the run on Sat morning and they were not at all interested in coming out. I lured a few of them (3/8) out with some oats for a few hours. Then back in they went, still afraid.

    Sunday I lured all but two out, and had to physically put them back in at nightfall. Now today, the door has been open all day but the most I've seen is a single chicken coming down a few rungs on their ramp then heading back in.

    They are 7-8 weeks old. They've been in a bin in the garage for the last month or so, and were in the house for the month before that. It's about 60 degrees and gray out but not particularly unpleasant. Should I continue trying to lure them out every day or should I let them decide to come out? Is there a 'best' way to get them to go back into the hen house at night? I tried getting them to follow a flashlight last night but they were spooked and huddled beneath the raised hen house. I ended up picking them up one by one and placing them in the coop. They have figured out the ramp on the whole though.

    Also, should I teach them to roost by putting them up on the roosting bars at nightfall?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sometimes it takes 15 minutes from when I open the pop door for the first time until most of the chicks are on the ground. Sometimes it takes a few days. I just leave them alone and let them decide.

    On the average, mine start roosting overnight on the roosts at about 10 to 12 weeks. They’ll play on them during the day but not necessarily roost on them overnight. I have had some start to roost on their own at 5 weeks. I’ve had some wait a whole lot longer. Again, I just leave them alone and let them decide. Why not let them enjoy their childhood a little while longer?

    Sometimes when I open that pop door and they go into the run, they will go back into the coop at night on their own right from the start. Sometimes they pile up just under the pop door. Sometimes some go inside on their own and some sleep under the door. They are just not consistent about any of this type of stuff. This time I don’t leave them alone. After it is dark enough that they are settled down and easy to catch, I put them in the coop. It doesn’t bother me to frighten them a bit when I do this. I want them to think the coop is safer than outside because it is.

    Sometimes when I put them in, they all go in the next night. Usually not though. Some often try sleeping outside again. I’ve had some tale two weeks of putting them in every night before they figured it out.
  3. mrspower

    mrspower New Egg

    Oct 27, 2013
    Thank you! That's what I was leaning towards - letting them decide when they're ready to come out. 2 of them have yet to venture out at all, so I'm just letting them decide. I'd really like them to come out, frankly because the waterer/feeder are big and I don't have to fill them often, vs the little chick ones hanging out inside the hen house. ;) So it would be nice to be done with those little chick feeders and waterers, which they drain every day - the water sometimes twice a day.

    They do sometimes play on the roosting bars but they haven't actually roosted. But like you said, they're still toddlers really, so hopefully they'll decide on their own when they're ready for that.

    I think perhaps I'll tempt them with some hard boiled eggs just to see if I can get them comfortable in the run. :) Once the 6 were out yesterday they seemed to enjoy themselves, pecking at the grass, discovering their new waterer (which is a nipple type). They're still skittish though, and we live with lots of trees which means lots of squirrels and birds, and yes, some hawks. So they're skeptical!

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