Pop door - teaching old hens a new trick??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gritsar, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My flock is 20 months old. They have been living in their coop for 15 months. Every morning I open the (human-sized) door and they come tumbling out to go about their business; free ranging all day. At night, they hop back in the coop to put themselves to bed.
    My hens have always been faithful about going back in the coop to lay their eggs.
    Now we need to add a pop door; not only to keep the coop warmer during the winter, but to keep the cows from raiding the coop every chance they get.
    My concern is that the hens will be confused when they find the big door closed and not know to use the pop door to get in and out to the nestboxes.
    My flock is very set in their ways. In fact, every morning when I go to the coop to let them out the minute they hear me click the lock I can hear them jumping down from the roosts and lining up to be let out. Most always they come out of the coop in the same order. I feel like it's too late to change anything with this flock, because they don't take well to change.
    Is there a way to make the transition to the pop door go more smoothly, with the hens using it to go back inside?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Just open the pop door in the morning and leave the human door closed. They'll have you trained in no time.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yeah...I think they will learn easily enough. And you can always sprinkle a little trail of treat through the opening. Can the pop door be placed next to the big door, so that it'll be in the same general area???
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:Actually, the pop door is going to be right around the corner and just a few feet away from the human door. We're suppose to work on it today, if the weather will cooperate.
     
  5. adkchickmama

    adkchickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gritsar, I know your dilemma, we have 14 chooks , 3 of whom are 1 &1/2 yrs old now. And they have always been cooped up in a small converted rabbit cage. Pretty set in their ways. A few days ago we moved everyone to our new coop 12 x 12, (well 4 x 12 for me and their supplies. They insisted on going back and standing outside the old coop everynite and I had to hand carry all of them but one to the new coop. Each nite there were fewer and fewer to carry . I think they are loving the new luxurious digs. Last nite I was able to get them all in by offering their bread snack inside (except 1) she had to be chased around the coop several times and finally carried in. Tonite will be day #6 in the new coop. I hope to see that they all put themselves to bed... So you can teach an old chicken new tricks. Its just about how much treats to lure them with! [​IMG]
     
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Ours will always come out the pop door, but don't always go back in without a little directional assistance. Whereas they will always go back at night through the human door when free ranging. But I attribute the failure at night to be that the light through the pop door is not seen from the human side. So I have two choices 1) put them in the run a bit early and they all go in through the pop door and 2) if freedom reigns, I better open the human door and all go in or some will end up in the trees if the human door is closed. For some reason, the concept of retuning to the coop through the run/pop door on their own eludes them.
     
  7. weirdmuse

    weirdmuse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sounds similar to a situation we had in one of our small coops. We solved it by cutting the pop door into the human door, kind of like a pet door on someones house. Worked with no problem. We just made sure they were inside for the night and when we let them out via the smaller pop door in the morning, they came back through it that evening.
     
  8. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I like that idea of the pop door in the human door a lot...OR beside the human door (that would be an entry below the lower roosts in my coop). All I have to do is add a little run fence and another gate so i can multipurpose the entry area for run or free range accessibility. Yep, going to do that...
     
  9. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gritsar we are going to put ours in the people door since we will expand coop next year. That is weather and hubby get there act together. [​IMG] I would not worry to much since we free range chickens will find there way in and out.
     
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Wow! Great idea about putting the pop door in the human door y'all. That's what we did; just finished.
    I gave my rooster instructions on using it [​IMG] , so hopefully he'll show the hens what he's learned.
    We'll find out in about 15 minute, when they are ready to turn in for the night. [​IMG]
     

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