I have 6 Smart Pullets and 13 Special Ones.....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheRidingLibrarian, May 8, 2009.

  1. TheRidingLibrarian

    TheRidingLibrarian In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2009
    Fellsmere, FL
    Background on my coop: I have a simple barn like structure with three stalls, all in a row. The tack/feed room is across from the middle stall, cement between the two for grooming/saddling. The middle stall has been converted into their coop. Where the stall door used to be is a full sized chicken(hopefully) predator proof door, which we humans use to access the stall. However, in order to keep the goat/horse/pig out of their coop when I let them out to free-range, we built a little door about waist-high, with a ramp parallel to it. (so it doesn't stick out and be in the way of grooming/saddling.) Their roost is perpendicular to the door, so that if they climb up to the highest roost, they can walk out. I've also added a ramp on the inside as well to make it even easier for them to get out.

    So we let them out via the big door for several days, as the little door had not been built yet. They are all totally on the ball in terms of knowing to come in at dusk and they all hop up onto their roost (the highest tier) and line up at night.

    But I am trying to train them to JUST use the little door, since I can't leave the big one open due to the other animals. So far 5 of my EEs will do it all on their own and I think one Polish. But the other 6 Polish, 3 Cochin, 1 EE, 1 Cuckoo Marin, and 1 Phoenix will not. They just stand by the big door and look pitiful. Or will run around the pen watching the others on the outside. [​IMG]

    The 5 smart ones will also go back in via the ramp at night also.

    How do I educate the rest? They see their buddies leave, why are they so dim? [​IMG]
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Humans have a brain to body weight ratio of 1 to 50. Birds in general have a ratio of 1 to 220. A cockatoo has a brain that is more than twice the size of a chicken's but a cockatoo only weighs about a pound. We still say he is a "bird brain" [​IMG].

    I've had to "teach" chickens to climb a ladder. But, they have learned.

    Chickens may not be able to reason something out but they do have a memory. If a certain path results in something desirable (escape from the coop), they may well remember it.

  3. Majestic Lane Poultry

    Majestic Lane Poultry Heart Strings Animal Rehoming

    Feb 9, 2009
    Repetition is the key. I once had white silkies that had to be picked up every night to be put back in the coop. They would use the ladder in the morning but had no idea what to do at night. Took about 5 months.
  4. TheRidingLibrarian

    TheRidingLibrarian In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2009
    Fellsmere, FL
    Too funny on the Bird Brain explanation. We have several critters, including a cockatoo. I think we are both used to a certain "intelligence" and are both surprised at how ummmmm, "simple" the chickens are in comparison. LOL

    All weekend same scenario, 4 or 5 will hop right out and the rest sit and stare at the big door. All those whom come out on their own also come back in on their own at roosting time.

    I guess I am just really surprised that the rest aren't learning by seeing the others do it.

    So I should pick up the "simple" ones and put them through the hole myself to teach them? We haven't opened the big door at all (for them) because I figure they will never learn that way. Which means that many of them have not gotten out in days. Not that they don't have plenty of room in the coop, but I KNOW they want out, they just can't figure out how.

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