Ousted

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Stacykins, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    So I just introduced some fully feathered chicks to a group of older chicks, ranging from 15 weeks to 8 weeks. These ones I just introduced are five weeks old. I didn't just toss them in the coop, I kept them in a large dog crate inside the coop for a week so everyone could see everybody. Well today, I turned them loose. There was some expected posturing and small squabbles, but nothing earthshattering. However, tonight when I went to close up the coop (since everyone puts themselves to bed safely), I found the chicks all undernearth the coop. There was no way for me to get them. Even if I could poke them out with a stick, without a helper to grab them on the other side, they'd just run back under as I ran around to grab them.

    My run isn't very secure, since my coop is like a Fort Knox that gets shut up every night. It is build to human code, the windows have hardware cloth screens, etc. So even though I closed the door to the run, since the entire coop is surrounded by the run, I am worried. Something could easily tear through the netting attached to the hardware cloth fence, since it is only meant to be safety from aerial predators, not something with claws. And it just started to rain. The coop is on the highest ground in the property, so any water will drain away from the point it is standing. Even if they are feathered, I'd hate for them to get chilled.

    Do you think the little twits will learn that inside coop = warm, safe, secure? I mean, there are plenty of places to roost, that ought to be better than hunkering belly down in the dirt to sleep. The other chickens, introduced at the same age to the coop (15 week old group was first) got the idea in no time, since they were confined inside the crate inside the coop too, learned that was home, and always returned at nightfall.
     
  2. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    Hopefully they'll huddle together under the coop and share body warmth, and hopefully nothing will try to venture in through your overhead netting tonight. Tomorrow you have two options: You could block off access to the underside of the coop so they can't get under it out of reach again, and then help them into the coop at night until they learn to go in for themselves. It may take as much as a week or so. Some get the idea right away, others don't. They may also be intimidated by the bigger chicks -- I have a territorial guinea who causes havoc at bedtime because sometimes he tries to keep the chickens & ducks from coming in. The other option is to leave it open so they'll all have a place to go in the event of overhead attack, but since you have netting overhead, this seems unnecessary. How high off the ground is it? If it's low, it may not be long until they can't get underneath it anymore. For now, I'd try to make sure I was out there a bit before dusk so you can help them learn to go inside. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. chicken grandma

    chicken grandma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was told not to introduce smaller chickens to larger chickens but to get them all to the same size first, about 14 weeks before putting them together!
    When you get the little ones out - you may want to let them grow before trying to put them together again. Praying for you!
     
  4. chicken grandma

    chicken grandma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:It was Opa who told me about letting them get to almost full size Stacykins!
    Also, can you leave a light or two on near the coop tonight to ward off racoons? A radio will do that also - so place some lights around the coop and a radio also just for tonight?
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hopefully ,nothing will happen tonight don't no your land. I'd be checking on them alot tonight. I would definitely close that space off tomorrow.
     
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this is what I did, last time I had this problem. I took old cardboard boxes, torn into strips, and stapled them to cover the opening between coop and ground. Only needed to be up there until the chicks started going in the coop by themselves. The first few nights, they huddled in a corner of the run, but it was easy to pick them up once it was dark and sit them in the doorway of the coop, where they walked in by themselves. Once they were going in on their own, I threw away the cardboard.

    This year, I had the opposite problem because they want to roost ON TOP of the coop. [​IMG]
     
  7. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    I will be blocking off the underside of the coop until they learn, then. It is 6x10 sized, so it isn't feasible to reach under there and snag the hiding birds. I wish it was! The older birds will be upset since that is where they go to roll around in the dust and take naps, but they have other places they can do that! I think unless a chicken is huge like a Jersey Giant, they'll be able to fit under there.

    I counted the little twits this morning at sunrise, they were dry and no worse for the wear, just hungry! I gave them all oatmeal so they were satisfied.
     
  8. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Awww lucky them to get some nice oatmeal after their "camp-out". Glad they made it through the night!
     
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Whew, they got the idea tonight and everybody is locked in safely. I'll keep the barriers up for another week or so. They were all perched nicely on the lowest set of perches in a bit huddle, as opposed to the floor.
     

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