Ladder Learning


Jul 29, 2016
Clarksville, TN
Yesterday, I took my Rhode Island Reds out of the brooder in the basement, and introduced them to the coop outside for the first time. I let them explore the coop for about 4 hours yesterday before bringing them back in. I have had them in there almost all day today.

They haven't quite figured out going up and down the ladder yet. I tried to get them used to it by placing them in the nesting box section. They would get to the edge of the ladder and just jump. They wouldn't even attempt to go back up. I tried sprinkling food on each step to coax them up, but that didn't work either. Finally, I put them back in the nesting box section, along with their food. They stayed up there then.

I know they will go up and down freely eventually, and I'm not trying to rush it by any means. I'm just curious about everyone else's experiences with this. Did you use any specific techniques to help them learn? How long did it take before your chicks figured it out?

Nice coop & flock!

I've had a ladder on my coop before. Basically, you grab each bird, hold them so their feet can touch the bottom, and slowly walk them up. Do this several times each day and eventually they will catch on to it.
Hi there mc79 Welcome to BYC!

First up, those are some real cute chicks you have there! Adorable!

You are correct in that they will work it out for themselves eventually.

I am lucky in that I have always had a mumma hen to educate the little ones about the ramp. However, sometimes when she has gone to bed with the majority of the bubs, a straggler gets left behind and peeps it’s little head off because it can not work out how to find mum. I simply pick him/her up and pop them in the coop. It only takes a few times of doing this before they work it out.

It sounds like they are not sleeping/roosting in the coop overnight as yet and you are popping them back in the basement?

Once they are sleeping in the coop and have to use the ramp to go to bed, they figure it out pretty quickly. You may find that at dusk they are piled up in a corner of the run but you will probably only have to pop them in the coop for a couple of nights before they work it out.

Also, just my opinion, that ramp may be a bit too steep for them at present? May be pop something under the bottom to reduce the angle and that they can hop onto?

Again, my opinion, but the spaces between the slats on yours look too wide, meaning they can not grip them. When we built our new coop it was higher than the old one and therefore, the ramp was steeper.

If it helps, this is the set up I have for my bantams [taken during the build]. The cross slats on the ramp have a 2cm gap and on watching my girls go to bed they definitely use the timber slats to help them climb.

Correct. I have a raised deck at my house, and I"m building an 100% fencing enclosure around the perimeter so that the birds are completely contained (and give them about 180 square feet of free space). Once that is complete, which will be in a day or two, they will stay outside permanently. Until then, I'm bringing them in at night.

Also, just my opinion, that ramp may be a bit too steep for them at present?
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Generally, I'd say the incline is okay, but for my chicks' current age, I'd say it's still a bit steep for them. Still manageable, but with a little more effort.
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