not eating because of ramp

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bethrene, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. bethrene

    bethrene Hatching

    Jul 8, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    We are brand new chicken owners - about 30 days. We built a chicken arc and moved the 4-week old chicks in last week. We kept them in the "upstairs" part for about a week and then opened the ramp so that they could spend the days down on the ground. All of them slowly found their way down there, but most can't seem to find their way back up the ramp to the food and water. We have to lift the whole coop up to get them and put them manually in the "upstairs" fully protected part and they eat and drink much at that time.

    Will they really starve themselves if we don't put them up there (are they stupid?)? Will they eventually go up on their own in the night so they can eat and drink? We thought that keeping the food and water up there would help them learn to go back up, but it doesn't seem to be working. Can they "smell" food and water?

    Any ideas or help?

    Beth Rene'
  2. robinaggie

    robinaggie Flew the Coop

    May 25, 2008
    I'm too new to be able to answer you, but someone here will. What I've read here in the past is that you have to help them up the ramp a few times until they learn. And are there steps? How far apart are they?
  3. Do you have a pic of your ramp? I'm thinking it may be too steep and/or need more cross-pieces for their widdle feet.

    As they get older, they'll manage fine but for now they may need a little assistance. Ours used a ramp at two weeks, but we were cautious about spacing and the angle.[​IMG]
  4. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    We built the Forsham Ark design with a drop ladder. When our hens were 3 weeks old, they would go down no problem, but we had to help them up for about 5-7 days. They were simply a bit small to get up the last 1/3 incline into the roost area.

    They are 6.5 weeks old now and go up and down no problems (they've been going up and down with no difficulty since 4.5 weeks). We built the ark with the ability to open either end of the run area. I simply crawled in underneath and helped them up. They did learn very quickly and once one was doing it, the others followed in a heartbeat!

    Now it's a little single file row as they go up or down....very amusing to watch!

    (We had food and water accesible within both the roost area of the ark and the run area.)
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  5. bethrene

    bethrene Hatching

    Jul 8, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    The ramp is over 4 feet long and is a 22 inch rise. We have 4 "steps" along it, but the ones who go up the ramp don't seem to need them.

    We will try the line of chicken food up the ramp and perhaps open up one end of the coop so that we can "herd" them up it until they get it.

    Eventually I want to let them out during the day, but I want to make sure they are fully trained first!
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
  6. purr

    purr Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    try pieces of melon or another treat leading up the ramp plain old grain might not be interesting enough. If you get one to do it the rest will figure it out. Mine did . If I throw a treat on the the ground the ones who are still in the run get all upset till they remember to find the door and come down the ramp.
    And we spent a whole week rounding them up at night to go to bed and then we were sitting outside watching them and it started getting dark and I told DH well we better go put them to bed and before we could get to it. They started filing up the ramp and put themselves to bed and I was like omg we've been killing ourselves chasing chickens for nothing.
  7. Yep, too funny. When you're a few minutes later getting to them in the evening you see some amazing little penguins
  8. bethrene

    bethrene Hatching

    Jul 8, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    Update: I did have to crawl under there a few times and put them up the ramp, but we found out the real issue: they will only go up the ramp if there is a light on up in the coop. I then built a "screen" window for the upstairs part of the coop and when that is in use, they will go up and down the ramp. Has anyone else found that the amount of light is an issue?

    Thanks for all your help.
  9. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    yes, actually, my meat chickens have only gone in by themselves about 10 times in the 2 months that we've had them. It's cause I have a safety light up, so when it gets dark in their coop they stay outside where the safety light lights up their run. My permanent flock has discovered that they get put up whether the safety light kicks on or not, so go in by themselves to avoid having to find roost space in the dark. LOL!!!
  10. krjwaj

    krjwaj Songster

    Jul 7, 2008
    Apex, NC
    Our chicks have been outside for about 1.5 weeks now and they still don't get it.
    Ours is like yours, Beth, where we have to lift up the whole coop to let them scoot out, then catch them & put them up.

    THEN...DD went into the run and showed them the way to up the stairs. We did that 3-4 nights. Last night, it was getting dark and rainy but they just huddled together in the corner, rather than going upstairs.....but, maybe tonight will be the night?? (fingers crossed)

    My next step will be to get a fake Mama hen and waddle it the stairs in hope the little ones will follow!

    Anyway, I feel your concern!! [​IMG]

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