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New to chickens, new Pullets arrived!! Getting them in the coop...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bellacoby, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2013
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    Hi everyone. I could spend hours reading all of the posts. everyone is so helpful! Anyway, our new pullets arrived today (3) about 15-20 weeks old . This is our first chicken experience!! New coop built, new run ready (predator proof) all enclosed. No free ranging in my neighborhood. Of course they have water and pellets available. I have given them some scratch for a treat to get them used to the run. I put some scratch on the ramp to their coop (raised) and they went all the way up the ramp, peeked inside the coop but have not gone in. I have several hours before dark and it is not that cold here today (Maryland) but tonight it could get down in the upper 30's and I am a little concerned... Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Eric
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi Eric.
    Hopefully they were not subjected to heat where they came from and I doubt they were. If not, upper 30s is nothing for chickens that age. Chickens are adaptable to a wide range of climate. They don't like extreme heat though.
    I just put chicks hatched Sunday under a broody hen yesterday morning. It's been close to 30 at night. They were under her all night but running around the coop this morning.

    They don't know it is their permanent home. You'll probably have to put them in tonight and maybe more nights till they know where to sleep. Most chickens don't like to spend that much time indoors.

    Food is my suggestion. You said pellets available. Do you mean layer pellets? I think they are too young for them. I wait till I get the first egg to switch to layer feed. They should be on a grower.
    Growing birds or birds not in production require about 1% calcium in the diet. Birds producing eggs need more(layer feed). Excess calcium can harm birds not building egg shells.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  3. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2013
    Nice small flock.
    As I understand, chickens do just fine to about 20 degrees, and after that you might consider a heat source that won't affect their sleep, since there isn't alot of chicken body heat in the coop (the more chickens, warmer coop). Make sure you have plenty of ventilation at ALL times as chickens don't urinate, but there is ammonia present in their droppings- this is VERY important.

    It is better if you can let them be cold (within reason) and grow in thick feathers to keep them warm over the winter. It probably wouldn't hurt to up their protein a bit to encourage feather production, like adding some black oil sunflower seeds, etc. there are many excellent threads on treats, feed, pros and cons. When they start laying, they should have some layer feed, plus oyster shell (besides grit) for good eggshell production. Best of luck!!!
     
  4. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes they are on layer pellets since they are about 20 or so weeks old. I checked with the hatchery and that is what they were already on. So i think we are good there. They are a little scared of course from their travel day(s) so I just didn't want to grab them and stress them out but I guess it won't be too bad just placing them in their coop??
     
  5. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks One Chick Two... Yes I built the coop with 2 very nice vents for that reason as well as the pop door is on a pulley system and since the coop and run are connected and completely enclosed that is an additional vent if needed in summer. They have free feed oyster shell and grit in the run..
     
  6. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your chickens sounds like they are going to have a terrific life! : )
    I think it would probably be fine to put them in their new home already. You may need to place them on their roosts. Ours still occasionally nap while waiting to get in the henhouse, and we have to put them on the roost, half asleep.

    When I need to move my chickens, I always try to make sure I have their wings 'locked down' with an arm or hand(s) so they don't beat me up or hurt themselves. I hold/ pet them daily, just makes handling that much easier when I need to catch them. lol
     
  7. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    So they obviously don't know me, so I am trying to go out with them a lot but I really can't get too close. So do I just kinda grab one at a time, and calm them down? I want them to be comfortable with us but don't want to just go in and grab them and scare them too bad? How should I approach "catching" them?
     
  8. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps start by trying a treat in your hand and softly call, "chickie, chickie" to see if there are any takers first.
    My personal preference is to avoid chasing whenever possible (it's not always avoidable though.) and try to always move calmly (nonthreateningly) toward them. If one bird is near a corner where they can't easily get away, you might be able to catch it, pinning the wings under an arm. I often tuck their back under my chin, gently placing their neck/ head on or near my shoulder (not near my face though- just in case of them getting startled.).

    I always say, "shhhh...good chickie" in a soft voice and find most will calm down right away. If not, you can try offering more treats, but I find food often excites birds, and I need them to learn to relax and cooperate. lol Then, I try some gentle petting (back between the wings, and very gently at their earlob/ ear muff area are favorite areas on our birds and they will close their eyes and relax, often falling asleep.) and talking gently. When they realize you aren't going to hurt them, and it's enjoyable to held and spoiled, soon, you will have them following you or flying up on you when they see you. : )
     
  9. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the tips!!!
     
  10. Bellacoby

    Bellacoby Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi there again. It has been 3 days and the 3rd night with the newbies. Its going great, they went in the coop tonight by themselves!! Now, my next question is that I see that they are just huddling together on the floor in the bedding (pine shavings) and not on the either roosting perch. I have a lower and a higher one. These girls are anywhere from 15-20 weeks old. Will they go on the perch themselves eventually? Is it OK they are on the floor of the coop? I have a perch in their run that they all get on quite often...

    Any advice would help!

    Thanks!!
     

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