Silkies are not figuring out my ramp not right or do they just need time?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 30, 2014
So here's my coop door next to the hen door:

I leave the big coop door open often. I have been letting them out for free ranging for progressively longer periods of time for the week. The Copper Maran and the silkie rooster can get in and out of the regular door, sometimes my RIR can too. But mostly the RIR waits for me to pick her up and put her in there. The silkies on the other hand won't even try to use either. I have tried repeatedly putting them on the ramp, at various places on the ramp, they only go through the hendoor if I put them right next to it. I don't even know if they can see that well, I tried trimming some of their headfeathers but I don't know if it's made a difference. I have to chase them to catch them and put them into the coop. (The RIR just stands and has no problem being picked up!)
So when the big door is closed, but the hendoor is open, the chickens can only get out of the coop, but only the Maran hen can get back in. I want to keep the door shut to keep the sun out when it's hot and the wind out when it's cold. But it's been a week now and nobody is using it properly. I don't want anybody to get hungry or stuck wet in the rain because they can't/won't use the ramp.

It's getting frustrating.
So is my ramp too steep? Or do I just need to give it more time?
Looks fine to me. The ramp I used to have on my old coop was steeper and they went in and out fine. It took them a bit, though. Maybe it's a little narrow, the ramp I had for my hens was wider. I would put them in and out through the hen door instead of picking them up and placing them in the coop by the big door. If you know it's going to be nice out, close the big door and put their food outside. Going without food for a little bit isn't going to kill them. Show them where the hen house door is and maybe shove a couple out and let the others see.

Mine probably took a week or so to get used to their ramp.
You'll probably have to keep putting them back in a few times, with the ramp being the only exit/entrance. They will eventually figure it out, by following the "smart" chickens in and out of he pop door.
How long have you had them in the coop? Leave them in it for a couple of weeks before letting them free range (unless you have a run) until they have established it as their safe place and they will go to it on their own at the end of the day when you let them free range. Then you wont have to chase them. Also you could encourage them to forage while they free range by feeding them later in the day which would also help get them back in the coop when you want them.
How wide is the chicken door? It looks like it may be too small and if you leave the larger door opened then thats what they will use because its easier. Leave the big door shut so they have no choice but to use the small door.
Maybe my silkies are extra stupid or blind? They don't seem to 'follow' the smart chicken at all (The smart chicken is the copper maran.) She is extra extroverted, inquisitive, and the first to do everything! The silkies are always hanging way back and don't even seem to notice when she does stuff. It took them five days to figure out the chicken nipples.

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