Won't go upstairs in tractor??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Adelaide, May 13, 2010.

  1. Adelaide

    Adelaide In the Brooder

    May 18, 2009
    Wittenburg, NS, Canada
    I have recently put my 6 week old chickens out in the tractor full time. They refuse to go upstairs at night...they huddle in the corner on the grass at night and I have to go out and put them upstairs. I have tried pouring food up the ramp...i know they can climb it cause they play on it during the day>? Will they 'get it' on their own or is there something I can do???


  2. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Songster

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Chickens are not the smartest critters, but they will eventually figure out going up on their own. One bird in our last batch took weeks to figure it out, the others just a few days. Be patient, and just pop them up through the hole every night until they figure it out.
  3. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    Try putting a light upstairs until they get used to it. They will go where the light is. Mine did the same thing with my tractor the first night, then we put a light in and they haven't had a problem since.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Yah, my first coop was an A-Frame, too. (Don't call it a tractor, because I built it GOOD and that sucker is permanently THERE in that spot!) During the day trips outside as growing chicks, they played on the ramp, but never went up it into the upstairs living quarters.

    So I panicked and bought a coop kit on eBay, with an attached, covered run. When I put the young chickens out full time, I put them in that coop. Day-times, they still played under the A-Frame and a little distance up its ramp. Several weeks later, one brave pullet went all the way up that ramp.... and pretty soon more followed. But they were already sleeping in the other coop....

    When I bought two laying pullets a bit older than my chickens, I segregated them in the A-Frame, so it became THEIR home. They laid in the nest boxes.... then the other girls, as they started to lay, they laid their eggs in the A-Frame with the Lakenvelder sisters. They use the ramp daily. The Lakenvelders go upstairs every night.

    Because they were a few months older, they were smarter. And had I not short-circuited the process with my original flock, they, too, would have learned to go upstairs at night.

    All this to say: yours will eventually learn how to use the ramp. Honest!
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Mine sleep huddled on the floor until they are around 10 to 11 weeks old. They play on the roosts during the day, but sleep on the floor. They are more comfortable huddled with their buddies than they would be up on a roost. When they are old enough, they will roost.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Betcha anything it's too dark up there, at least by the time it gets to be dusk. The top seems to be windowless or at any rate have exceedingly minimal natural lighting; when outdoors light is merely dimming, it will have gotten pitch-dark in there (to the chicken eye, anyhow -- they have TERRIBLE night vision, and deeply dislike going into spaces too dark to see in).

    SOlution: add substantial natural lighting, or some sort of 'night light' (you could rejigger one of those cheapie solar driveway lights, so the panel is outside and the light is inside; the battery charge only lasts a few hours but that is exactly what you *want* for this situation).

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Songster

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    When mine were 10 weeks they started roosting...before that they were on them during the day but slept on the floor....It only took them 3 days to learn to walk up the ramp funny how they are.
  8. keeko

    keeko Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    I think they'll eventually just get it. Keep putting them up there until you watch them at dusk and see who's "leading" and if some start to follow. Mine were about 8 weeks when I put them out in the tractor... the first two nights I had to physically put them up there. On the third night, they all marched themselves up top to roost (except for one buff girl, who didn't get it for 2 more days!). I had to physically put that last buff girl up there each night. It's a natural instinct, so no need to worry.

    I do agree about the lighting situation though...if you find they still aren't getting it after many weeks or more. However, I should note that my tractor is exactly like yours...pitch dark at the top, entirely closed in. It also just may be that the girls are a tad young, and will figure it out in a few short weeks. [​IMG]

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