Ramp training 101?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gtaus, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    My 10 chicks are now 8 weeks old. I moved them from their brooder out into an elevate coop last week. I left them in there for a few days with food and water so they could get used to their new home. About day 3 in the coop, I started opening the pop door during the day. Going on day 3 now with the pop door open, the chicks will walk up the inside ramp, look outside, but then turn around and just go back into the coop.

    To encourage them to use the ramps, yesterday I put some chick feed on the inside ramp, the landing on the coop wall, and some more chick feed on the ramp going down to the grass. The elevation is about 3 feet and the ramp is about 5 feet, so the ramp is not very steep. The best reaction I got yesterday was one chick came out and ate some of the chick feed on the top rung and the next one down. So she got down about 1 1/2 steps. Then she turned back and went into the coop.

    I thought the best method would be to let the chicks figure out how to use the ramp on their own, and once they figured out how to get down, they would probably understand how to get back up. But they seem content to stay in the coop.

    Although I think I made them a pretty nice coop, I would like to see the chicks get out of the coop and go down into chicken run with fresh grass. Will the chicks figure it out on their own or do they need to be trained? I want to continue to feed and water the chickens in the coop, but would be willing to try options if needed to get them down into the run. How long would a person give the chicks to figure it out themselves, or is there a better way to teach them to use the ramp? Thanks.
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    My most recent batch was content for 3 weeks until I got fed up. The boys had become adventurous but not the girls. I removed feed from inside for a couple days placed at the very bottom of the ramp and encouraged with a little push from beyond the lay box. My time tolerance is highly dependent on weather conditions and age of birds.

    Sometimes I will have to help a few back in for a few days.

    That's basically how I've done it for years... so I'd love to know if there's a better way! :pop
     
    Lilyput, Susan Dye, EggWalrus and 3 others like this.
  3. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Enabler

    5,056
    21,213
    1,072
    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    My Coop
    I put the chooks down in the run in the morning and then bribed them up the ramp with treats (whatever yours go bonkers over.... mine love sunflower seeds, blueberries, mealworms especially at that age) They usually figured it out within a couple of days, especially when feed and water are in the run
     
  4. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Well, I guess I have more time to wait. I'm not in a great hurry, just thought they would move out on their own as soon as they saw the grass.
     
  5. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Well, I intend to keep the food and water in the coop as my fenced in chicken run is not predator proof at night. I don't want to leave feed outside overnight. I think I'll just give them a few more days and see if they figure it out. If not, maybe then try some different tatic.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Mine were 3 weeks old, so 6 weeks by the time of my great insistence. :lol:

    But there is no real right or wrong way with this type of thing. Different people may be more or less protective or nervous and certainly we all have different weather conditions, flock dynamics, set ups, predator loads, and so on.

    Example.. I won't have food and water in my coop because I want the crowd to poop outside. :sick I collect my feed every night in order to avoid rodents as my coops are dark and chickens don't eat in the dark. My runs are also not predator proof, just covered for rain.

    If they are safe and comfortable and you are comfortable.. then it's all good! Sounds like you've got it under control. :thumbsup
     
    Lilyput, Susan Dye, rehdancer and 4 others like this.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    6,781
    5,702
    476
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I try and only feed enough for the day and I too, do not feed in the coop. I am in favor of letting them figure it out on their own, but that is quite a bit of time. I think I would put them in the run in the morning.

    The thing is the coop is now home to them, and that grass that looks so good to you is just plain scary - just wait until it snows! However once they get out there, they will be fine.

    In my experience, I would put a box in the run as a bit of shelter, when it gets dark, they will cuddle up in that. Pick it up, and put it in the coop. Leave the pop up door open, after spending a day outside, I would expect them to go out on their own or at least part of them. Getting them back up the ramp takes a couple of more days, but by 3-4 days they will have it done.
     
  8. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Thanks. I'm OK waiting to see if they figure it out on their own, and I guess I'm OK if they need to be trained later. Either way, it's all good.
     
  9. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Sounds like a really good idea. I was thinking of what things to put in the chicken run that would be good for both the chickens, and me. Thanks.
     
    Susan Dye and EggWalrus like this.
  10. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

    575
    1,398
    216
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Happy to report that the chicks figured it out themselves this evening, day 3 with the open pop door during the day, and they spent the last 3 hours of daylight outside in the fenced in area before I had to put them back in the coop. I had to catch each chick and put her on the ramp facing the coop. But they all went in and stayed in.

    So tomorrow I hope they will come out on their own again and stay out. If it's nice, I'll put their feed and some water in the run, and not in the coop. There seemed to a consensus that was a good idea. Thanks.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: