They were so scared!

tn_artist

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 29, 2009
1,430
2,867
411
Wilson, NC
We have two flocks of grown chickens and are working towards combining them. We also have 16 chicks ready to go outside and four three week olds. We want to put the 16 chicks in the smaller pen. We took them on a field trip out there while the big guys were free ranging. They were terrified. They bunched up in a corner and wouldn't explore or eat or drink. We even brought in a gentle hen to show them the ropes. They seem clueless. One of the little guys tidbits every time I feed them, so I know it's instinct, but not one of them was curious about the outdoors, just scared. None of the big chickens did this. How do I get them used to and enjoying the outdoors?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,624
36,278
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Colorado Rockies
Chicks know they are easy prey for lots of animals, including many from the sky. Therefore, chicks need cover nearby. Try the field trip again, and this time leave them in their crate and open the door to allow them to come out when they muster the courage.

Keeping the crate available as safe cover allows the chicks to duck back inside when they feel nervous about being exposed.

My chicks get brooded in the run. They grow up there. At two weeks, they are mingling with the adult flock. The doors to the run are open for the adults to come and go, but the chicks don't usually feel brave enough to step outside the run until around five weeks or older.

When they do venture out of the run, they stick very close to the building, keeping the door handy in case they lose their nerve and want to rush back into the run. It's not until several weeks of this timid exploration of the world outside the run before they feel comfortable exploring any real distance from safety.
 

tn_artist

Crowing
12 Years
Apr 29, 2009
1,430
2,867
411
Wilson, NC
Chicks know they are easy prey for lots of animals, including many from the sky. Therefore, chicks need cover nearby. Try the field trip again, and this time leave them in their crate and open the door to allow them to come out when they muster the courage.

Keeping the crate available as safe cover allows the chicks to duck back inside when they feel nervous about being exposed.

My chicks get brooded in the run. They grow up there. At two weeks, they are mingling with the adult flock. The doors to the run are open for the adults to come and go, but the chicks don't usually feel brave enough to step outside the run until around five weeks or older.

When they do venture out of the run, they stick very close to the building, keeping the door handy in case they lose their nerve and want to rush back into the run. It's not until several weeks of this timid exploration of the world outside the run before they feel comfortable exploring any real distance from safety.
They were in a covered 10x10 pen, but I will try leaving the crate next time.
 

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