New Chicken Farmer needs help with new babies

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chicken farmer MD, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. chicken farmer MD

    chicken farmer MD Hatching

    Mar 31, 2009
    I looked around on the faq, couldn’t find the answer so maybe you guys can help. I have 8 new 81/2 week old RIR in a just built coop. They seem to like the coop, nesting areas, feed and water system, but only 1 or 2 venture out the chicken door to get to the 12x40 enclosed run. Today, I "evicted" all of them, via the chicken door, for about an hour to turn the liter over and do some house keeping, then had to chase them down to get them back in for the night. I got them 3 days ago. Should I allow them to get used to things and let them figure it out, or should I continue to help them outside and inside every couple of days? Thanks for the help

  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Keep them in the coop without letting them out for at least 2 weeks. That "re-homes" them. Then, when you open the door, after 2 weeks, they will slowly begin to venture out further. They'll be fine -- just let them go at their own pace. Also, once they are "re-homed" they will walk themselves back into the coop at sundown (feeding at morning and evening helps with that too).

    Also, make sure they can get out, and back in, easily. Do you have pics of their coop environment?

    You will soon realize the futility of trying to "herd" chickens in daylight hours. LIke herding cats! Some people will use a special call to them only when feeding treats (like "here chickie chickie"). Then, if they become trained to that call, you can use it when you want to gather them in daylight. Though, it still works better for them to walk themselves home at sundown.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Leave them in for a week or so, let them get used to it and get the lay of the land. Little by little, they'll venture out and then they'll head back in at night.

    I'd cover the nest boxes until they are old enough to lay.

    Congrats on your new flock!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  4. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    If you throw a handful of hen scratch on the litter every day or so, they will do a pretty good job of stirring up the litter themselves. Just make sure they have grit so they can digest the scratch.
  5. chicken farmer MD

    chicken farmer MD Hatching

    Mar 31, 2009
    Thanks all for the great info. I will leave the girls in their new digs for a week or so. They get plenty of interaction with my kids, this is better than TV! The kids just watch them for hours. I am sure I will need some more help along the way (I think I may have a roo in the bunch). Thanks for a great site!

  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Good luck! Even my too cool teenagers are really into "watching" the chickens. This is a great place for finding info quick.
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I agree with the other posts. My chicks after they started going out into their run didn't want to go in at night so I'd have to round them up every night and put them in their coop.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  8. the_great_snag

    the_great_snag Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Staples, Minnesota
    Yup, definitely lock them in for at least a week or so and then let them venture out as they wish.

    Tossing food on the litter is a great idea for keeping it turned over. You will be surprised at how long the litter will stay fresh under a healthy flock of birds.

    The roosting instincts of chickens is a godsend. As long as they can get "home" they will never run away and always will return to the coop at night. This makes catching them for butchering a lot easier, and will give you easy access to them at night if you need to examine them.

    I used to pick my birds right off the roost at night to look them over and sometimes they never even woke up.
  9. LSU2001

    LSU2001 In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2008
    Cut Off Louisiana
    My RIR's are 3 months old today. They were brooded right in their coop so re-homing was not an issue for me but they still won't go more than a couple of hundred feet from their coop even when I free range them all day. When I first took down the brooder wall and gave them access to the outdoors (at about 4 weeks) they would not go out. After several days with the door open they started venturing out. Some of them still prefer to sit in the coop on the roost or "dusting" in the litter. Come nightfall they are all on the roost clucking softly waiting for me to close them up for the night.
    I guess I need to post some recent pics as I have not posted any since they were about 3 weeks old.

  10. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Yes we love pics!!

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