New chicken owners and need help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dachickenkook, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. dachickenkook

    dachickenkook Hatching

    Aug 16, 2008
    First post to this forum, even though we started reading a couple of weeks ago in prep for getting our chickens. They are here! We are the new "parents" of 2 chickens and just had our first full day with them. We built a large, fully secure run area with a coop. Our first main concern is that the girls don't seem to know how to walk up or down the ramp to enter or exit the coop. We put them in last night and closed them in, then when we opened the door this AM we finally had to help them out after an hour. It seemed like they stayed outside all day (gave them treats and water in the run). At dusk we tried to put them back into the coop. What a workout!! We spent 1/2 chasing 2 chickens around to put them in.
    So....we would LOVE any suggestions on how you teach (?) a chicken to go into the coop. We looked at lots of the coop designs and see that many are elevated. Our coop is prob 1' off the ground with a ramp with slats. Also, if the run area is secure on all sides and the top, do they absolutely need to be put into the coop at night? Will it help them learn to lay there (they are 4 months old and we were told they would begin to lay soon, bought at the 4H fair).
  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    What you're going through is typical. They are in new surroundings and it takes them a little bit to get used to where their new home is. Keep putting them in the coop at night, keep taking them out in the morning, and sooner or later a lightbulb will go off in their pea brains! You'll go out one night and they will already be in bed. Then you'll know your mission was accomplished.
    If it's only a foot off the ground, they may even learn to just fly up.
  3. pdemorro

    pdemorro Hatching

    Aug 16, 2008
    Killingworth CT
    Hi! If you turn a light on in the coop, they will head there as soon as it starts to get a little dark out. That is what worked for me. Hope this helps.

    Take care, Patty
  4. Heather J

    Heather J Songster

    May 29, 2008
    Unless it is super hot where you are (and let's face it, it's pretty darn hot most everywhere) you might want to let them hang out in the coop for a couple of days, get used to the inside, and then let them emerge in their own time. When I added adult chicken to my flock (I know, it was before I realized it was much smarter to quarantine new birds), it was winter, so even though the weather was fairly nice, I left them in the coop for a few days so they could become familiar with their new place, and understand that this was home. Then I opened the door and let them out to run with the others--but even then, they didn't get to free range for another week or two--when they had a better idea of their surroundings and layout. Also, ther previous owner said they were used to roosting in the trees and night, and I wanted them accustomed to the coop so they would return--I've never had a problem since, unless the run door or coop door got shut by the wind and they couldn't go in.

    Go ahead and open the doors for plenty of ventilation, but I bet anything if they have the ability to leave anytime, after another day or two, they'll venture out on their own--it is a new situation and surroundings, after all.
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:I also used a light and in the evening when I put them in I gave them some treats (scratch).
  6. dachickenkook

    dachickenkook Hatching

    Aug 16, 2008
    Sorry it has taken me so long to reply....but THANKS for all of the great info and suggestions! Our ladies are doing very well now and go into and out of the coop all by themselves! They love to sit under the coop house during the day then as soon as it starts getting dark they go right in. Thanks!

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