My chickens don’t like leaving the coop...not sure what to do?

steiggy

Songster
Sep 29, 2013
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103
146
Wisconsin
Hi all!

My three 10-11 week old chicks went outside full time this fall when they were fully feathered. I kept them locked in their coop for one week before introducing them to their run...and they want nothing to do with it! I do live in Wisconsin and I understand it’s cold, but even when we had warmer days this fall they didn’t like to be out of the coop. If I pick them up and place them outside, they will contentedly scratch around and making happy purring noises. But if I walk away, they go right back in the coop!

I know that it will probably take some time (and warmer temps) for them to want to explore, but my concern is that they are getting enough to eat and drink when I have their food and water in the run. When I kept it in the coop, they ate a lot more than when I started keeping it outside. Is this normal for chicks that are brooded indoors? Should I continue keeping their food and water outside? Or should I put it back in the coop? Chicken newbie here and I could use some help!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
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Jul 16, 2015
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I'm in Wisconsin, I feed, and water inside the coop. Soon your run will be buried in snow, so it's best you do too unless your run is covered? Your chicks will go out when they feel more comfortable. Mine always stay in more during the winter months. Most don't like the snow.
 

steiggy

Songster
Sep 29, 2013
64
103
146
Wisconsin
I'm in Wisconsin, I feed, and water inside the coop. Soon your run will be buried in snow, so it's best you do too unless your run is covered? Your chicks will go out when they feel more comfortable. Mine always stay in more during the winter months. Most don't like the snow.

My run is not covered, but I shovel it out every time we get snow. I don’t mind feeding and watering in the coop, I just read that I shouldn’t? Water adding moisture that causes frostbite and rodents getting in the coop to get the food? I will be getting a heated water dish this week so their water will have to stay outside I guess, but I will start keeping their food in.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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My run is not covered, but I shovel it out every time we get snow. I don’t mind feeding and watering in the coop, I just read that I shouldn’t? Water adding moisture that causes frostbite and rodents getting in the coop to get the food? I will be getting a heated water dish this week so their water will have to stay outside I guess, but I will start keeping their food in.
You don't want your feed getting wet that can be deadly. Many times birds won't go find water if the weather is bad, so I like to make sure there's water available in multiple places.

You will get rodents no matter where you keep your feed. They are inevitable with keeping chickens.

Make sure you have good ventilation and the water won't cause a problem. Chickens express more moisture when breathing than anything, so don't close things up too tight. Moisture will get moved out as fresh air moves in.
 

fldiver97

Enabler
11 Years
Aug 5, 2009
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Consider covering your run if at all possible. I also use clear plastic on the sides to keep snow out and break the wind. Your chooks are still little, it may take them some time. Make sure they have a ramp if the coop is elevated, they’ll figure out how to use it. I have a hanging feeder in the coop in winter, small waterer in the coop and large waterer in the run and the yard. In Wisconsin, since I work from home I don’t use a heated waterer anymore but change the water as needed during the day. I have heater for water should I need it.
 

aart

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Nov 27, 2012
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I'd definitely get the feed and water inside if your run is unprotected from the weather.
There will be days on end when the blizzards rage that they won't want to go out at all.
As to why they won't go out....how long have they been able to go outside?
It can take some time, they are 'chicken'. :D
Spreading some treats out there might help.

What does your run look like, pics would help here, are there places to 'hide' and climb and scratch?
There should be at least some shelter from wind and precipitation out there.
I have to shovel also, but they can get under the coop, 4x8 area, which is pretty cozy and dry.

full
.
 

steiggy

Songster
Sep 29, 2013
64
103
146
Wisconsin
DC7C3830-D0F4-4B42-B1CC-C3292BD9B21D.jpeg


Here it is shortly after we built the run. The coop is elevated and there is a shed on the left that blocks wind. I will just continue to feed and water inside and use a heated water dish for outside as I live 1/2 hour from home and work full time. Thanks for the help everyone!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
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View attachment 1592318

Here it is shortly after we built the run. The coop is elevated and there is a shed on the left that blocks wind. I will just continue to feed and water inside and use a heated water dish for outside as I live 1/2 hour from home and work full time. Thanks for the help everyone!
The way this is set up the coop is high up and safe to them. Putting stuff in you run to get up on or under may help them feel safer coming out.
 

MANNA-PRO

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