Moved chicks outside, why won't they leave the hen house?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AshleyBickle, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. AshleyBickle

    AshleyBickle Out Of The Brooder

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    My 8 and 10 week old chicks have been in the coop 3 days now... They won't leave the hen house unless I physically move them myself. They look out the door but never leave. I moved them twice yesterday to the run thinking well they will get thirsty and make their way inside. Nope, they won't use the ramp.. So I had to physically put all 5 of them back inside to rehydrate and yet again they will not leave the house. What gives? Are they afraid of the ramp? I added stairs to the bottom to make it less of a slant and still nothing. Will they figure it out or am I going to have to move them back n forth constantly?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They're scared of the big bold world that they've never seen. Give them time, they'll eventually get braver on their own terms. If you let them go out when they're ready, they'll go back in on their own too.
    I have some flocks of chicks that charge right out and others that take months to venture abroad.
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Chickens hate change. They will figure things out, but it will take time. Hen raised chicks have a mother to show them how to deal with environmental changes. Your birds will have to figure things out for themselves.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    They'll get it. They are really confused at the moment. It's all big, scary, and brand new. Is their food and water in the coop? That's the way it sounded. The only thing that overrides a chicken's brain is her stomach! So after you -

    Make sure the ramp isn't too steep or slippery
    Make sure the run is secure
    Put their food and water out in the run

    - then start enticing. Put a small pile of scratch in the run where they can see it from the doorway. Let them see you do it. Then move away and let them figure it out. Soon one or two might just come out and start nibbling. Very rarely can any chicken stand to see others getting what she doesn't have. Greed should take over. Do the same in reverse when it's time to put them away - scatter some on the ramp and some inside. It may take several more times before they get brave enough to start going in and out on their own but they always do.

    This is one of the reasons I like to brood my chicks in the coop from day one. They are familiar with day/night cycles, they are hardy for nighttime's cooler temperatures, and they are totally confident in their surroundings. It doesn't help you now, but if you get chicks in the future you might want to take a look at this.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors
     
  5. AshleyBickle

    AshleyBickle Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Yea I've tried having them watch me put treats out in the run and leaving it but they still won't come out. I've even tried putting a few of them outside and a few inside thinking the two outside would go in or the chicks inside would come out.. Nope! They just all peep loudly at each other. The food and water are both inside the house so I'll try move it out. I'll give it another day for them to get familiar with their surroundings before I try convincing them to venture outside.

    I was so confused by this as I've had chickens in the passed and they were out of the hen house immediately scampering about. These guys are little scaredy cats but I've noticed that since day one!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Patience is a virtue, and I want it now.
     
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  7. James9222

    James9222 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was in the same situation a few weeks ago. With 17 week old pullets they wouldn't leave the coop to enter the run. 2 weeks later they are everywhere all the time. 6 week old chicks did the same thing. Took weeks to adapt. To help them along spend some time with them if possible, use treats and just hang out with them.
     
  8. AshleyBickle

    AshleyBickle Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2012
    Traverse City, MI

    I spent a while with them yesterday. Physically put them all out into the run for a few hours then tried showing them they can use the ramp to go back into the coop. A few went in on they're own and I had to put a couple in myself. Once they were all back inside they wouldn't come back out. So far today they still haven't left the coop. I'll go out later and get them out again.. Eventually they will get it, I'm just being impatient!
     
  9. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It took mine time to transition as well. If I was out there with them they would be a little braver and come out. Mine were a little older though because I have bigger chicks that weren't so friendly with them. I built a mini coop for the look but don't touch approach because regular attempts at integrating didn't work (kept them in the mini coop for almost a month). Once I let them out of the mini coop and put them in the coop they hovered in there unless I was out. Then they would step just outside the door into the run part. It went like that for abut 2wks before they finally got brave enough to venture out all the way. Now they're finally out for periods of time with the bigs, and MOST of the time the bigs leave them be. I still have to stay out there and monitor during treat time though because I have 2 cochins that are little buggers lol. With food and water though, I put out an extra food and water container in the run which seems to have helped with the food/water issues.

    I go out multiple times during the day, so during the time where they were staying in the coop a lot, they would come out for little bits of time throughout the day while I was out there.

    Oh, also, do you have a "safe place" in the run where they can go if they need to to get away and feel less threatened/overwhelmed? I put something out for mine (it's just 2 chairs, but it works) and they have gone under them at times instead of running back to the coop.
     
  10. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    I'm a terrible chicken mom. I was patient with our young flock for about three hours of the 'stand in the doorway and look outside' nonsense before I went into the coop and bodily ejected them like throwing somebody into the deep end of the lake to teach them how to swim.

    They screamed, they thrashed about, they protested, then they had a moment of clarity where they looked around and said 'grass and bugs! Cool!' And went to work scratchin' and peckin, àll trauma forgotten.

    After that I made frequent trips to the run to bring them treats and check on them. From that point on they exited and entered the coop without protest except now they think it is a cool to be outside after the sun has set. Silly birds!
     

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