They don't seem to "get" the ladder.....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bellasmeme, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. bellasmeme

    bellasmeme Out Of The Brooder

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    a personal Bedlam
    My husband built our coop, (it's terrific, and I'll post pictures soon). He studied lots of other coop designs, and built the hole and ladder according to what he learned, so we are sure that it is pretty standard. The problem is, our 4 buff orps and 4 gold-laced wyandottes (7 weeks old each) don't seem to be able to figure out how to use the ladder. They seem to love being in the runs, but, although we lower the ladder every morning, and close it back up at sundown, they can't use it. We occasionally carry them out of the coop and then have to round them up and carry them back in at the end of the day, just so they can get some scratching and exercise and sun, and as I said, they do seem to enjoy their time outside. Will they figure it out eventually? Does "Mum" usually teach her chicks this skill? (we raised them from 3-day old hatchlings). Anything we can do to help, or are they just still too young to have figured this out? Thanks for any help you can give, we do appreciate it!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't have any experience with ladders, but it took mine a couple of days to figure out they could actually go out and come back in a pop door. Once one figured it out, they all figured it out pretty quickly. I'd advise patience but maybe someone with experience in your specific problem will respond.
     
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    They are still very young. Give them time and they will figure it out
     
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are still very young and yes you are so correct when you say mom usually teaches them. They will figure it out eventually.

    Chicks raised with a hen figure out how to get in and out of the coop, they roost sooner, learn that bugs are tasty etc. than chicks raised without the help of momma hen. I have raised chicks both ways numerous times and the chicks with momma don't have the annoying issues like not figuring out how to get in and out of a coop via a ramp or ladder.
     
  5. YankeeRider

    YankeeRider Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like the others said, 7 weeks is still young. My 9 week-olders (BO's) started going outside at about 5 weeks, but would only do so if I coaxed them out using treats. They had the opportunity to go out earlier than 5 weeks, but wouldn't, except to grab a treat and then they'd go right back inside to the security of the coop.

    Since about 6-7 weeks old, I would only give them treats in their run outside. Then they would go outside whenever I appeared there, but head back inside if I left. Now they will head outside as soon as I open the pop door in the morning. After that, they are like children- in and out all day long! But they are spending progressively more time outside with each passing day and week.
     
  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Mine had to come down the ladder in their new coop for the first time this morning . . . LOL! everyone of the missed the first step and went head over heels down the side rail. I guess I will have to move that first step a litle closer.
     
  7. bellasmeme

    bellasmeme Out Of The Brooder

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    a personal Bedlam
    Thanks. everyone, for your advice. I have just come back in from some errand running, and went round back to see how the birds were doing. I had lowered their ladder just before I left. Well, everyone was up on the roosts, staring out the window at the run! So, we will just wait and know that they will figure it out eventually. I did read in one of my books that I should only feed them in the coop, so that they will associate it with their food. I have a little watering set-up for them in the far end of the run, though. Yesterday, "Brass", my biggest and bravest orp, found a bug in the run (I had carried them out) and ate it with gusto! Hope he/she remembers that this is where you find them.
    Now, here's a second potential problem. We seem to have a hawk in the neighborhood. Their runs are covered-one is the area under the coop, 6'x8'x 28" high, and is connected to a 6x8x 5'6"high run by a completely hardware-cloth enclosed "breezeway". The big run has a tarp over it's peaked top. So I believe that they are safe from the hawk, but when he "buzzed" us in the yard yesterday, all eight birds simultaneously flattened and cried out. They very soon resumed scratching and playing, but I wonder what effect his presence will have on them, and what, if anything I can do about him. Will he give up when he realizes that he can't get at them?
     
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From what you described they should be safe from the hawk.

    No, they never give up.

    Saturday morning I was sitting out at my "chicken patio" having my coffee and the chickens were not acting right.
    They had that flight or fight look to them. Heads and tails up at attention, wings sort of in the down ready to take off look. Some walking around very nervous (if you know what I mean) some behind the coop (I couldn't see them) giving the bawk baawwk call, some went into the coop and wouldn't come out, some hiding under the bamboo in their run. I think you get the message.
    Well I got up looked under the coop because I have found a possum sleeping under there from time to time that obviously upsets them, looked all around the yard and in the brush behind their run for something/anything that could have them so on edge.
    Well I happen to look up at the electric pole about 30 yards from the coop and there sat a big ole red tail just eyeing the run. I wasn't looking up because the chickens were not looking up. Generally if there is a hawk in the tree they are lookiing skyward and they were not but it was far enough away that they did not have to turn their head to see the hawk.
    My run is covered as well so I went and sat back down and decided to just observe to see what if anything was going to happen. After about 5 minutes the hawk flew over the run (it was not a swoop, just a fly over) which really set the chickens "off" and it flew off into the distance. The chickens soon returned to their normal activities as if nothing had ever happened.

    There isn't much you can do about it, they are protected. As long as the chickens are in a covered run the threat is minimal. I did find a dead cooper hawk tangled in my netting about a year ago, apparently he tried to get in and got caught and I am assuming died from stress.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009

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