Just a general chicken question

Algonac Jack

10 Years
Nov 3, 2009

I have built a 12 x 12 building that I am using for a coop...I have 16 hens in it. I put sand over the cement floor a few inches deep. They have access to a pen 21x12 that I have covered in wood chips. My question is is they have only gone out a few times and generally stay in the coop. Is this normal. It is mostly shaded but gets a little morning sun and has plenty of room for them and I thought the wood chips would hold bugs and worms etc and they could scratch and be happy. They are 5 weeks old and they have been cooped up since they were a day old until i finish the pen which is now (i hope) predator proof. With the exception of a weasel or mink. Any ideas why they are so reluctant to go out.[


10 Years
Aug 17, 2009
Monroe, North Carolina

They're pretty young yet, so they'll be kind of timid about going outside since no one has told them it's okay. Try this:

Go in the coop -- oh. Is it big enough for you to go in? We'll pretend you can. Go in the coop with a big piece of cardboard that you can use to herd them all together out the chicken door. Then block the door with the cardboard so they can't come in. Then go outside and toss some feed out -- make sure they see you toss it. And put their water outside for them. Keep an eye on them while they're out there. Let them back in if you have to go somewhere, or if it gets late.

They might huddle around the door for a bit, but if you've got any treats they're used to, like greens or broccolli -- I use grated cheese -- that'll lure them out a little further.

It make take a few days, but it's worth the time. They do need to be getting outside!


11 Years
Nov 8, 2008
Portage County, Ohio
Yep, 5 weeks is still quite young and they're just being timid. You can force them out as possumqueen suggests, but be ready to help them back in later too, because they won't realize where to go to get back in for the evening. Pretty sure they'll figure the whole IN/OUT thing and be more independent. They'll need directions for a few days at least though! Enjoy!

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