Transitioning to a new coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JenifferHartman, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. JenifferHartman

    JenifferHartman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
    Basehor, KS
    Soo we are building our birds a new coop (converting an old wooden shed and building a run). They are in a make shift coop with a smaller run right now until the new one is finished. They free range during the day. We have 2 hens laying so far. There is one more that won't be far behind those 2, and our others are a couple of months younger so I'm not so much worried about them. The new coop will definitely be done before they start laying. Anyway, my two laying hens have been nesting in the straw bales we keep in the garage. We have nest boxes in their temporary coop, which is the one we keep the younger birds in until they are big enough to defend themselves before we integrate. But they won't lay in there unless I just don't let them out for the day if its raining or something. . They will pace back and fourth in front of the door trying to stick their head through the wire to get out and as soon as I let them loose, they bolt straight for the straw bales in the garage. My concern is that they have made that their designated nesting place and I will have the same problem when I introduce them to the new coop. I know they will need to be left in there for a couple of weeks until they establish the new coop as their home, so I'm hoping during that time they will just get used to laying in there. But is there anything I can do to kind of make the transition easier on them because they really seem to get stressed out when they are not able to get into the garage to lay their eggs :/
     
  2. sbhkma

    sbhkma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Keep them locked up in the new coop for a couple weeks and remove the straw bales for when they do get a chance to get out, so they don't revert back to "old habits". They'll need a couple weeks in the new coop to adjust and call it "home" anyway. Mine get stressed too when I don't let them out, which I don't do until after 10am, so it's after the prime hunting time. They pace and fuss, but I just ignore it and go about my chores and let them out later. You might want to put straw from those same bales in the garage into the new nest boxes. The familiar smells and textures should help.
     
  3. JenifferHartman

    JenifferHartman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2013
    Basehor, KS

    Removing the straw from the garage isn't really an option. Its the only place we have to store it to keep it dry. We also have our brooder in there for our chicks. We raised all of our birds from chicks and they kind of associate the garage as their safe place I guess. Its pretty difficult to just keep them out of there as we are running in and out all day working in the yard so its opened most all the time.. I don't necessarily mind that they lay in there. We don't have to go too far to collect the eggs but I don't want them to be beside themselves when they are unable to get in there after introducing them to the new coop. After how they are reacting when they are cooped up in the temporary coop unable to get to the garage, I'm just worried about them injuring themselves trying to get out. I guess I worry too much :)
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    Birds don't like change any more than we do. They'll protest it, sometimes loudly, but in the end it doesn't hurt them and they'll get used to it. It's just breaking one habit.....and we know how hard that can be! They'll be fine and learn to lay in the new coop.
     
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your hens aren't really as stressed out as you think they are. They'll make that pitiful crying sound like "Whaaa wha wha wha whaaaa" then gladly dump an egg where ever they happen to be.
     

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