How to help chickens take confinement?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rachael Ellen, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Rachael Ellen

    Rachael Ellen Out Of The Brooder

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    The past few weeks my 2 chickens have learnt how to jump over/slide under the fence that keeps them off the paving/out of the plants so we've sort of given up and have let them roam the backyard as they please during the day. I think this has somewhat spoilt them as now, they can't stand being in their coop. In the mornings they're particularly bad and make a little too much noise for a suburban backyard... I'm wondering if they'll get used to being in their coop for a few hours in the morning until people are around and they can be supervised and let back out, or if they'll continue to carry on like that. Sometimes they can do the same during the day, but they always do this in the morning.

    I know the simple solution is to let them out and I would quite happily let them out all day but they keep pooping on the paving and there can be cats in our area. I don't want to annoy my parents or provide lunch for hungry cats. I let them out whenever is possible but sometimes that's only a few hours at the end of the day and they go CRAZY in there. If they could understand why I had a fence up we'd be all good, but they insist on exploring.

    How can I get them to understand that being in their coop is necessary sometimes?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    You can't. Fence is the only thing that works. Chickens hate being indoors during daylight.

    For the most part, cats do not bother adult chickens. More likely, the chicken will peck the cat and the cat will keep a wide berth after that. Occasionally a feral might take a chicken but it's quite unusual for a domestic cat to.
     
  3. Rachael Ellen

    Rachael Ellen Out Of The Brooder

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    What gets me is that sometimes, after I let them out, they'll venture back to their coop to sit in the sand anyway after only a short time.

    They've already terrorised the magpies and scared off the noisy miners in my area, but we have some pretty nasty cats and a fox that sometimes comes down from the hills to scab any leftover dog food. I'd rather be safe than sorry because these 2 girls are very much my pets and not just there to lay eggs.

    I worry that after I let them out when they've been squawking, that they learn that as 'good' behaviour and associate squawking with being let out. I just don't want to upset any neighbours or stress my chooks out :(
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I would build them a nice run attached to their coop so they can at least be outside.
     
  5. Rachael Ellen

    Rachael Ellen Out Of The Brooder

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    Their coop is sort of outdoor-sy. They have a little space up the top where they sleep but when they go down the ramp, they're outside and can see what's going on.
    I'm going to have to think of ideas. Hmm.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How much room do they have in the outside part? Is it possible to enlarge it? Chickens are most content when they have room to roam and scratch around in the dirt.
     
  7. Rachael Ellen

    Rachael Ellen Out Of The Brooder

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    My dad told me today that he wants to move their coop and make them a larger run, so yeah, this is what we'll end up doing.

    For the time being I'm trying to make their coop a happy place by feeding them their treats in there. It's a pity they gobble them up so fast!
     
  8. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Can I ask what sort of coop they have? The way uou described it, Its not one of those ready made jobs is it, like you get on ebay?

    If it is it may just be way too small for them so you can't really blame them for wanting out.
     
  9. Rachael Ellen

    Rachael Ellen Out Of The Brooder

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    I think it might be. http://www.maxipets.com.au/images/large/premium-chicken-coop_LRG.jpg

    This is all they sold where I bought my chooks from, and in every other fodder store close to where I live. The only other design was a little smaller and a tractor sort of thing that could be wheeled around on the grass. I was told it would house 3 medium hens though I don't think I'd put any more than 2 in there. It IS too small to keep them in it all day, hence I had a rather large temporary/constantly changing run for them but they kept jumping the fence >.<

    They seem comfortable enough in there and not crammed. They each have plenty of room to dust bathe and eat/drink without stepping on each others' toes. I think it's more that they can see the lawn and plants and go nuts if they can't get to it. It was the same when I had their run up - hence the fence jumping to get to the yummy grass.

    I think I need to stress that this is a temporary thing until I could either get a taller fence or relocate them to give them a more permanent run. I was asking more like, how I could make them stand it for a few weeks until I can fix it all up for them. If it wasn't for cats/foxes, my parents wanting a clean yard, my poor vegetable garden and our silly dog then they'd be out all day but it just doesn't work out. I worry that if no one is home to hear them stress, they may get eaten or injured. I worry that my dog might try to play with them.

    They're brilliant chooks and have shown me so much of their personalities. We're currently re-doing the backyard and so once a few things have been moved and dumped, they can be relocated and I can give them a lovely run with lots of space and interesting things for them to investigate. They're my first chickens so I wasn't sure how it'd work out at first with their run and such. But, I'm getting it sorted. :D
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Do you open the coop door leading onto the ramp and let them have that much outdoor space? If so, they should be fine in there for a while, though they'll certainly appreciate a larger area when it's available! I imagine you're just seeing their frustration at not having the run of the yard all the time. And I agree, I wouldn't put more than two in there. I know lots of people feel they have no choice but to buy one of these ready made coops. Lots of people also find them handy to have for special needs, such as the need to separate a broody sitting on eggs, an injured bird, a bully, etc.
     

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