Moved to the coop, but they dont seem to want to go out


Mar 25, 2015
Marble Falls, TX
I moved my 4 about 12 week old chicks out into the tractor coop with my 2 full grown chicks last Sunday (7/10)
At first I put a chicken wire divider to keep the little's separate from the bigs (and kept the little's inside while the bigs could go out and free range around the yard every day). Removed the divider after three days, first evening there was a little pushing around when the golden comet came in and made sure the little's were in "their spot". but no big fighting
So now, we open the coop door like normal every day, but only the big ones go outside. The little ones stay up-ramp in the coop, and seem to show no interest in coming down the ramp. I even tried taking a couple of them out and putting them at the bottom of the ramp to encourage them to come down but they just go right up with their sisters.

I want them to free range, just dont understand why they seem scared.

the old gals were quick to run out the door the first time I opened it for them, so I figured these would too, but so far they just stay in there.

Any suggestions on how to encourage them?
Mine did the same thing. When my little girls were still in their brooder, I would take them outside and they loved exploring around and chasing bugs and taking dirt baths. But once I moved them into the coop with the big girls, they wouldn't venture out. The big chickens and ducks would race out the door as soon as I opened it to let them free range, but the little ones wanted to stay inside. If I made the little ones go outside, they seemed upset and just wanted to go back into the coop. It took them several weeks before they were bold enough to go out on their own. At first they would go out the door but stay within a few feet of the coop. But eventually they got bolder and now they roam all over. I just let them go at their own pace and didn't make them go out of the coop since they didn't seem secure in doing so, I'm not sure that's the best advice but they're all happy and confident now.
I agree, be patient.

First of all, congratulations on a successful integration. It sounds like yours went very smoothly.

Immature chicks are afraid of mature chickens, usually with good reason. Even if there is no overt fighting or chasing, if immature chicks invade the personal space of more mature chickens, they are likely to get pecked for a breach of chicken etiquette. So younger chicks normally learn to avoid the older chickens.

I don’t know how big your space is outside. If it is really big they may have room to come out and still avoid the older ones. If not they may stay inside until they get mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. With my pullets that’s normally around the time they start to lay. Patience on your part may really be called for.

I don’t know what your coop looks like, but I’d guess that when you go down in the morning to let them out (if you lock them up at night), the young ones are on the roost while the older are on the floor or are somehow avoiding the older. Mine sometimes are on the roost, sometimes they hide under the nests. It’s pretty tight under there. Mine certainly avoid the older until they mature.

Good luck! It sounds as if things are going normally and well.
What you're seeing is an instinctive reluctance to venture out into the possibly dangerous unknown. This is typical of chicks who know deep down that they're prey. This instinct and the aversion to anything new and different, inherent in all chickens, dictate a need to stay close to the familiar for a while until self confidence grows. Fear of the big chickens is only a small part of the deal.

Leave the chicks to handle things at their own speed. You'll see them slowly venture out a bit more each day until, give them a few weeks, they're free ranging all over the place.
thanks for the encouragement yall
the day after I posted this, I walked out to find the baby Jersey Giant sitting on the back steps to the house about 10 yards from the coop
of course my presence drew the big girls over and they ran her off back into the coop

the day after that the little light Brahma came down and I watched her from a distance exploring around up close to the coop
then when I turned my back, my little 12 pound yorkie went over and thought she was playing with the brahma (as she does with the big ones, she goes after them for a couple steps, then they turn and go after her, always playful). well of course the baby freaked out, ran over to the fence and was running back and forth in a panic
I went over and picked her up and put her back at the coop door

of course, since then none have ventured out

I have confidence they will as they get more brave, just gotta make sure the tractor coop is in good shade, something I am not used to worrying too much about since the big girls will just come out during the heat and find cool shade on their own

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