New chickens not leaving coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by okiemamachick, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello we already had two established leghorns and then this past Saturday we got two OE one EE and an auracauna (I think) we have a nice coop but our run is smaller than I'd like probably 5x10 anyway we free range all day so run size doesn't matter much. I decided we should keep the run door closed for about a week or so so the newbies would come to know this as "home". Well this Saturday will be a week and they've not came out of the coop once. There's a ramp that they walk down to get into the run and when we let them out of our transport cage into the run they figured out how to go up the ramp and into the heated coop but never come out again! Is this normal? I know our two leghorns are at the top on pecking order right now maybe they are keeping them inside and up on the roosts? I could let just the leghorns out today to free range and see if the others go into the run....maybe they are just lazy. It has been cold (freezing temps) but yesterday was nice probably 40-50 degrees. Any ideas? Am I over analyzing?
     
  2. mortie

    mortie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd get rid of the heat in the coop. They don't need it. Chickens (with some breed exceptions) are far more susceptible to heat than cold and can withstand temps well below zero.

    Do you have snow on the ground? Most chickens don't really care for it. If you do, maybe your leghorns are used to it and your new girls aren't. Mine don't like walking on snow much, but they have to because snow is a fact of life where we life. Even a dusting discourages mine from leaving the coop to venture out to the waterer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are the two new ones? Are they laying yet?

    Maturity matters to the pecking order. Mature chickens outrank immature chickens and are often quite straightforward about demonstrating that dominance. They peck them, hence the name “pecking order”. What you describe sounds exactly like the behavior I see when I’m integrating chickens to the flock that are not mature enough to fight their way into the pecking order. If you have a lot of space they often act like two separate flocks. If space is tight the young ones do all they can to avoid the older ones, hiding in tight places or spending most of the time on the roosts.

    When do they mature enough to not be picked on? It will vary with each chicken but I often see less overt pecking order activity a few weeks after pullets start to lay. Some can go longer though before the flock becomes truly mixed.

    Now that they have been in there a week, they should know the coop as home so I would just open the pop door and gate and let them go. It may take a few days before they find out they can get outside without the older ones beating them up, but eventually they will discover they have room to avoid the older ones outside. I see no reason to push that, just be patient.
     
  4. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks guys they were hatched in the spring is what I was told and I was told all are laying already. I will open the coop this afternoon and see how that goes.
     
  5. Monguire

    Monguire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Back in mid-October we added three 18-week pullets to our existing flock of six 18-weekers. From the get-go, the new pullets were their own flock and I thought they would never integrate. They were skitterish, very flighty and extremely high-strung when anything outside of their clique got within a foot or two of them. It took them about three weeks to finally come out of the coop and into the run for the first time...but only if the other six were in pasture. If the newbies saw any of my originals heading their direction, they immediately retreated back into the coop.

    Lots of time and patience later, last night was the very first night the three newbies looked like they really belonged. When I looked at the camera feeds, the newbies were roosted in the middle of the originals after months of tucking into corners as far away from them as possible. Now it's strange to think of them all as one unit after spending so much time and thought caring/providing for two separate groups.

    Time is key. Time to get over the stress of being ripped from their original home. Time to discover and thoroughly investigate their new home. Time to learn the original inhabitants aren't going to kill them. Time to trust these two-legged giants constantly wading through their space to clean poop-boards, bring fresh water, food, etc. Time to forge new friendships/truces/alliances and integrate into the new order. In our case, the time was almost three months to the day.
     
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  6. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Get rid of the heat..... Move the water and the feed into the run.... keeps the coop cleaner and forces the chickens to get out and get exercise....
    I had to run my chickens out of the coop..... close the pop door, and leave them out all day..... for several days....
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ve never “had” to run mine out. I simply give them the opportunity and with patience, they work things out. Of course, others do it differently.
     
  8. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks I will turn the heat off it was mostly there to keep the water from freezing. I will also open the run up and see how they do I may wait till Saturday when I can be there to watch closely.
     
  9. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welp the food and water are out of the coop since Thursday and they still haven't left the coop. They haven't even went into the run they BARELY get off the roosts. My two oe that are part of this bunch I got last Saturday haven't laid a single egg :( it's been a week :( did I get bum laying hens? The guy said they were laying 3 or so times a week but only because they weren't supplementing light I think the speckled girl is laying and although she looks just like a ee she lays white eggs. Idk what to do. ..
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    A week or two is nothing..... especially because you just added them without any 'side by side separated by wire getting to know you time' (I assume).
    Surprised there hasn't been any bloodshed. Multiple feed/water stations, one in and one out, might be a good idea.
    Read up on integration.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens to flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     

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