It has been a week in new coop...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kimbymarie, May 13, 2011.

  1. kimbymarie

    kimbymarie Out Of The Brooder

    68
    2
    39
    Apr 18, 2011
    Central Massachusetts
    Hello all, My approx 6 -7 week old chicks have been in their new chicken coop for a week now. They are absolutely loving it. They love to go outside all day, and run around and seem so happy. I live in New England so nights have been in low 40's this past week. I have a heat lamp in their for them. I have three questions, I put them in the coop around 6:00 pm because we were going to dinner and I knew we would not be home till after dark. I did not put on their heat lamp, which also supplys light. When i checked on them they were all in one of the nesting boxes. I think they are afraid of the dark. I did have a solar light in there, but does not give off as much light. Should I continue with having a brighter light, when not using heat lamp? Next question, they come down onto the plank to go outside of coop fine, but they don't go up it to go to in at end of day. How do I get them to go in their coop at night? ALso I have a pretty thick layer of pine shavings on bottom of cage. It does not smell and their messes are all dried. Should I be changing the shavings once a week or more often?
     
  2. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps Out Of The Brooder

    69
    0
    39
    Mar 6, 2011
    Quote:This is a great question ~ i cant get my little dumb bells to put themselves to bed either! Its been two weeks of big girls in the coop life! I have to go out every night and nudge them out of their corner in the run and patiently coach them up the ramp one by one by shining a flashlight on it and pecking at it with my fingers. The things i do for love [​IMG]

    btw - how big is a chicken's brain?
     
  3. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Illinois
    I think that the chicks being afraid of the dark is normal. all my chicks have been in the beginning. It might help to give them just a small light in the coop to help them get over it. Just one of those cheap little push on battery operated lights would make them more comfortable. I would however cover the next boxes until they start laying so they don't get used to using it a bed. As far as getting them to go back in the coop at night I would lock them in for about 3-5 days then let them out and by that time they should be wanting to sleep where they call home. Hope this helps, I made my babies go in at night , because the first chicks I ever got never had older chickens to show them the way. All my other chicks since then have basically just followed the older birds in and followed there lead. Hope this helps, good luck!
     
  4. savingpurple

    savingpurple Chillin' With My Peeps

    432
    0
    109
    Apr 2, 2011
    NW Ohio
    I had trouble also, at first in getting mine inside. I was terrified as I work till after it gets dark, and they were still out when I came home. Had the heat lamp on also (NW Ohio) for a bit. They are about 8 wks old now, going on 9, and they just know to go in. Now when I come home it is a quick lock the doors up tight and say goodnight.

    Mine seem better, almost more calm now that the light goes off after I get the inside pop door lock on. If the light goes on for me to see to lock it up they get very upset as if I am disturbing them. LO they calm back down when the light goes off:)

    Good luck !
     
  5. kimbymarie

    kimbymarie Out Of The Brooder

    68
    2
    39
    Apr 18, 2011
    Central Massachusetts
    Thank you for all your advise and sharing your own experiences. So helpful
     
  6. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

    631
    5
    131
    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    We have electricity in our coop and I think having a light on in there at dusk helps to attract them into the coop at night. My girls are 9 weeks old and have been in the coop for 2 weeks. Here is exactly what we did.

    We kept them locked in the coop for about 5 days before letting them out at all so they would know that was their new home.
    I turned the light on every morning and turned it off 30 minutes after dark every night.
    After the 5 days we let them out into the run. On that first night, i went out there at around 8:30 (dusk) and lured them up the ramp with meal worms.
    The second night I did the same but it was MUCH easier, after that I had no issues, they put themselves to bed everynight. We now have the light and the pop door on a timer.

    If you have no way to get electricity out there, you might try one of those "push" lights that you can stick to the wall battery operated or something. It is really pretty easy to wire the coop and hook it to an extension cord. See my setup below.

    [​IMG]


    At that age I would say the 40-50 degree weather would be no problems and I would not give them light at night. They need to sleep and get used to the dark.

    As far as cleaning out the shavings, I think that is really up to you. If it is dry and does not smell you could probable clean it out less.

    Good Luck!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by