How long to adjust?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jimla, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. jimla

    jimla Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2010
    We picked up our first chickens, 4 started pullets on Saturday, 72 hours ago. The coop was not finished the first night and they huddled under it. The next night 2 huddled under, one in and one at the open pop door. Last night two inside and two on the pop door. They don't seem to be eating their layer pellets, the kind with extra Omega 3. They drink and peck at a handful of scratch and will eat the occaisional worms or grasshopper in their covered run.

    Do I need to closed the pop door for them all to roost inside?

    What do I look for to tell me they aren't adjusting to their new home?
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, your instincts are right. They need to be locked in the coop for 3 or 4 days, 24/7. A chicken fears change and fears the unknown. After 4 days, the coop will be "home".
    Second, take away the scratch altogether until they are heartily eating their provided feed. Feed only for the next week. They need to forget about everything else they've ever been fed.

    After a week, the feed pellets will be their main feed and you can toss, a "bit", a handful of scratch once in awhile. It simply isn't intended to be more than 5-10% of the feed intake.

    All will be well. They'll soon be just fine.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  3. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Do you have an enclosed run with a pop door for them? If so, it should be OK to let them spend the day in the run. To get them to go in the coop, you need a light in there when it gets dusk. I just have a simple bulb on a timer that is set to go on at dusk and stays on two hours. I got it at Home Depot. They will naturally go toward the light, so you can get them in the coop that way. I agree, don't let them free range for at least a week or more. They need to know the coop and run are home. If you don't have a run, lock them in the coop for sure.

    Re: feed, I would ask the previous owners what they were feeding. Mine like crumbles only and won't eat pellets (I know, they are picky...) I am sure they would adjust over time, but you don't want to traumatize them any more than necessary. If you want them to be on pellets, you can gradually mix them in with the crumbles until they adjust.

    Good luck!
  4. jimla

    jimla Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2010
    Thanks for the help. they are doing well and have figured out food and home

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