New coop and new, mature chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by flodato, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. flodato

    flodato New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2012
    My Coop
    I just finished building my coop and my friend has a farm with chickens that he said I could pick from. I want 7 birds, but I"m not sure how I will start them off once I get home. They are free ranging now and will free range at my house as well. My question is: What's the best way to transition my girls into their new home. I do not have chickens currently so these will be the only ones in the coop.

    I searched the boards for a similar post, but had no luck finding anything. Most of the posts were about introducing new chickens into your flock. Thanks!

    Here is my new coop. I converted my kids playhouse!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Cheep Chic

    Cheep Chic Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Fairfield, Florida
    Are the chickens you are getting full grown or babies? if they are chicks it may be too cold to keep them outdoors now. If they are 4-6 months old you'll be OK. Leave the door open during the day so they can put them themselves to bed at dusk. Make sure you have a sturdy roosting bar with plenty of room for each bird to sleep comfortably on it.
    Feed them at least an hour before bedtime so they are full and will sleep well. Always have plenty of clean fresh water around them. Make sure they are locked up at night.
    Let them out in the morning for breakfast at the same time or else the Rooster will have words for you if you start messing about and sleep in!
    Keep the hen house clean, (their poop from the night before has to be cleaned out every day) and a sprinkling of either straw or pine shavings will keep it smelling clean. Sophia, my chatty Rhode Island keeps me company every day while I do my chores then she does the compulsory inspection. Occasionally my Cochin will nestle down to check the shavings "Yep, It's good" then off he goes.
    You are going to love your new experiences. They are wonderful.
    Good luck to you
     
  3. Cluky

    Cluky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Chicago
    free ranging them right away isn't the right thing to do. they will not think of the coop as their home. from the threads here typically people suggest close them in a coop for a bit
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Cheep Chic

    Cheep Chic Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Fairfield, Florida
    All I can do is speak from my own experience I guess. We live on 3 acres. Our Chickens have the run of the place but they do get locked up at night because there are animals out there who will eat them. The girls put themselves to bed sometimes, or I put them down at dusk and lock them up. We've never had a problem.
    (As soon as it was warm enough to do so, they have lived outdoors)
     
  5. flodato

    flodato New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2012
    My Coop
    Cluky's response was what I was thinking of initially. I wanted them to learn that the coop was their home. I will leave them in the coop for a day and make a judgement call on how much longer from that point. We have 5 kids and they're all excited about the new chickens. This will be a great time to give them feeding and coop closing duties at night. Thanks for your responses and I will let you know how it goes!
     
  6. Joan71

    Joan71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2013
    South Carolina
    I free range my hens in my backyard. I followed suggestions I found on BYC. I have a run attached to my coop. So they were able to be outside, explore, eat grass, etc. Do you? I started letting my girls out to free range 1 hour before dusk. I left the door open to their run so they could go in and out to get water. They wandered close by the coop/run the first few days, then as they became comfortable with their surroundings in the yard, Big Red became the leader, when it was time for them to return to the coop/run she would start chick talking to the others and they followed her back to the run/coop and followed her into the coop to roost for the night. As time went by, I have extended their free range time. I have 1 (Henny) who gets bored and starts wandering toward the neighbors back yard fence. So I have to keep a watch on her. We don't leave them unattended. They enjoy their experience, we get to visit with them and everyone is safe. I have 4 hens.
    Depending on the ages of your children, always check the lock on the coop yourself to be sure the hens will be kept safe. My grandson helps me and sometimes he gets distracted and closes the latch part way not realizing that it is not completely in lock position. Good luck and enjoy. J
     
  7. flodato

    flodato New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2012
    My Coop
    No, I do not have a run yet. I was planning on making one within the next week. I will definitely double check behind the 6 year olds when locking the coop. The opportunity to get 7 hens popped up on me today so I have to roll with it even though I don't have a run yet. Having that run attached to my coop would have been awesome to get the hens acclimated. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I did when I had chicks last time. I'm going to post the results through the weekend. I have no idea what I would do without all the advice I get from everyone on this forum! Thanks
     
  8. flodato

    flodato New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2012
    My Coop
    Got the hens today. My buddy gave me a good mix of Ameraucanas, Buffs and Barred Rocks. I left them in the coop for a few hours then opened the coop to the yard. 2 of the 6 roamed the yard and one of them tried to escape, but came back after some coaxing with a pine cone! They both strolled back to the coop at dark and the escape artist actually laid an egg. So far so good. We'll see if the other hens get brave and venture out tomorrow. I have plenty of food and water in the coop for the night.
     
  9. Cheep Chic

    Cheep Chic Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2013
    Fairfield, Florida
    Excellent! If you feed them they will come! I know the idea is for them to forage but until they are totally comfortable with their surroundings and at ease leave them lots of water and a bowl of their food. This is great. Then you can get them used to feeding them twice a day a cup of grain so they'll go out and look for bugs etc. They will put themselves to bed, just keep an eye on them and when they're all in, lock the door. I'm so happy for you, you're going to have a lot of fun. Now get some geese and the party will really start :)))
     
  10. flodato

    flodato New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2012
    My Coop
    Alrighty! All of the hens came out today and roamed the yard. They dug holes, scratched around, sparred a little bit and went back into the coop at dusk. They free ranged from 8 til sunset. no eggs today, but I'm not expecting any for a bit. I'm sure that trip to my house screwed them up.

    My wife and I spent quite a bit of time out there today just being around the hens. We didn't run up on them or try to grab them... just sat and watched them. I'm very happy with their progress so far. It's nice just to see what they look like in the sun.
     

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