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Newbie in the dead of winter

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by HeidiN, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. HeidiN

    HeidiN Out Of The Brooder

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    I just fell into chickens when my neighbor gave me two of his leghorn pullets because their flock was picking on each other. It's well below freezing, and we have about 2 feet of snow on the ground. He helped build a makeshift coop out of pallets for winter. I have it in my fenced garden area for now, but plan let them free range, they were free ranged before.

    He said I should leave them locked in the coop for two weeks so they know it's home. It just seems so small, and a recipe for more boredom problems. (One of them was the victim of flock pecking and has a couple bald spots) Is it necessary to leave them for two weeks, or could I let them roam the fenced garden area before two weeks is up? The fence is 7 feet high (deer fencing). Any advice is welcomed. I've had a crash course in chicken keeping this week, and it seems there are so any different "methods", I want to try to implement the simplest, most natural approach.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi and welcome to BYC - thanks for joining us and congrats on becoming a chicken owner!

    You can try keeping them in lockdown for a shorter period (maybe a week). It may just take a bit of "herding" to get them back in the coop, but putting a flashlight in the coop, will encourage them to return as darkness falls, as will keeping their feed station nearby the coop. They will get the hang of things soon enough.

    Best wishes
    CT
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, HeidiN, and :welcome! Pleased you joined us! I agree with CTKen...you could go for a shorter period and see what happens. The danger is they will want to go back to their former residence until their new home become imprinted on them. You can throw out treats in their coop like a little scratch grains or black oil sunflower seeds to entertain them a bit. Best wishes and thanks for joining our community!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] so glad you have joined us.

    2 weeks does sound like a long time, but I have never free ranged and haven't faced this issue.

    But 2 feet of snow[​IMG] Bet they won't venture far. Maybe give them a confined temporary area outside the coop to venture out for a week and then let them out and see how they do?
     
  5. HeidiN

    HeidiN Out Of The Brooder

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    If they are free in the (shoveled) fenced garden area will they try to fly over the 7 foot fence to go back to their former home? It's not next door, but across the road and down a lot, (we are in a neighborhood with 5 acre treed lots.)
    I was planning to let the garden space be their winter "run," then let them range free in the summer. I have some training to do with our dog before they're loose.
     
  6. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    I didn't see what the dimensions are on the pallet coop but if you think it's too small, maybe you can enlarge it or fix up some sort of temporary run so they can get outside without leaving your yard? Keeping them inside the coop for a while does teach them where "home" is but 2 weeks seems long to me also.

    There are lots of different ways of doing just about anything so you'll need to find what works best for you.
     
  7. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    as long as they have food and water available I would doubt they will make a break for freedom - but there's no guarantee with live animals
     
  8. HeidiN

    HeidiN Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2017
    North Idaho
    Thank you all so much. This is not the best time of year to get into chickens, but we'll make the most of it, I appreciate the feedback.
     
  9. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under HeidiN [​IMG] Welcome!

    Congratulations on your new feathered family.

    As you have already received some good advice, I will just add that I hope you enjoy being a BYC member. There are lots of friendly and very helpful folks here so not only is it overflowing with useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun. Unlike non chicken loving friends, family and colleagues, BYC’ers never tire of stories or pictures that feature our feathered and non feathered friends [​IMG]
     
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I think cooping them for 3 or 4 days is plenty and of course have feed and water inside for them.
     

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