Moving them to coop. I have the general idea, but two questions please...

livininco

In the Brooder
Feb 26, 2018
7
13
34
Black Forest, Colorado
Hi All, I have my 6 week old chicks doing very well. They have feathered out nicely, and because our night temperatures are still in the 20s, I am putting them out in their coop/run during the day and bringing them into the garage at night, waiting for 40 degree nights to leave them outside. We have wicked spring winds that are icy.

I've read most of the threads, and feel fairly confident about my judgment, but one thing I am not sure of. Do I close the door to the coop each night and go out each morning to let them out, or do I leave the door open to their enclosed run with the ladder? We have a (hopefully) predator proof run.

And, do I put food and water up in the coop for them overnight, or do they have to wait until morning?

Thanks for your valuable advice. It's a testament to this site that I haven't had to post a question until now!
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
9,782
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SW MO
I would close them in. I bring food in my house at night so as not to attract varmints. The chickens will sleep and don't need to eat or drink unless you plan on not getting up at dawn's early light.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,055
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
1.... I would, if for no other reason than its chance for you to assure they've all gone in, especially for the first week when they are learning to go to roost
2....provided you'll be out there to let them out first thing in the morning, no. Birds at roost don't eat or drink.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,048
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
First, I suggest that you cut those apron strings and let your chicks graduate to the coop. Yes, they will complain. Chickens are... chicken. They hate change! My chicks wean themselves off heat at 4 - 5 weeks of age with night time temps down to low 30's. They are brooded in an outdoor coop.

If you are still worried about them, give them a huddle box. IMO chicks need to be moved to their coop/run just as soon as they are old enough to do so. Keeping them in the house is neither healthy for them, or for the humans.
 

llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,017
4,806
356
Illinois
I was also wondering about this. I don't feel comfortable opening that door and letting them out until it's pretty much light out. On Saturdays it's stil kind of dark out when I go to work, in the summer it's fine. What do people do in this case? Predators are my issue and I won't be home to watch for that hour or so. I come home at noon, but that is to long. I have both chickens and ducks that will be in seperate areas.
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
May 27, 2015
9,782
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SW MO
I was also wondering about this. I don't feel comfortable opening that door and letting them out until it's pretty much light out. On Saturdays it's stil kind of dark out when I go to work, in the summer it's fine. What do people do in this case? Predators are my issue and I won't be home to watch for that hour or so. I come home at noon, but that is to long. I have both chickens and ducks that will be in seperate areas.
Are you letting them out into a run? How secure is it? I've done this occasionally when we had to leave early for airport and I put on a light and a radio. But if I had to do it regularly, I'd invest in an automatic door.
 
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llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,017
4,806
356
Illinois
Are you letting them out into a run? How secure is it? I've done this occasionally when we had to leave early for airport and I put on a light and a radio. But if I had to do it regularly, I'd invest in an automatic door.

The chickens could technically stay in the run in the coop but the ducks woud need out. I'm naughty tunas secure as I can but it still scares me
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,048
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Tell us about your run. Just how secure is it? It's always risky to let birds out before dawn. As Sue suggest, investing in an auto door opener can provide that extra layer of security. We installed one last summer, and it has been great. However, it is attached to my pre-existing pop door which is mounted on J channels, and it has occasionally got bound up, and malfunctioned. Also a power outage can mess with your timer. Some folks use a battery powered system.

Do you have a neighbor who could let them out in the morning in exchange for a favor or eggs?
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,912
516
middle TN
I "home" the chicks by keeping them locked in their coop the first few days. Then, when the door to the run is opened, they view the coop as safety and the run as the big, scary world. Of course, I'm doing this with chicks days old, not weeks, but I don't have any issues with them knowing how to get back into the coop or that this is the place to sleep. That might be an issue for you at dusk.

So, I agree that it's high time to leave them in their coop. Lock them in at dusk (although you may be out there placing them on the roost in the dark for a few nights) and then open the pop door at dawn so they can get to the food/water. If your run is truly predator proof, you won't have to do this forever but at least until they understand that they need to go in to sleep.
 

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