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GracielaGata 05-13-2013 10:34 AM

Chickens won't leave coop.
 
So we are new to chickens.
I have 3 young hens- RIR, Buff Orpington and a Barred Rock, from what I can tell. I got them from a friend about a week ago, they are about 3-4 months old.
They have a coop we built, which is tractor style. It measures about 3.5 x 4.5ish feet, about 3ft high, sits on top of 3.5ish feet x 10ish feet run.
They have food and water below in run area.
It took them a while to get comfortable going up and down their ramp to eat, but they now have no major issues. Took them almost another week to realize the roosting stick existed in the coop itself.
Our friend we got them from has kept chickens for a long time, & raised these from babies. He keeps his in a decently large pen area he built himself- no sunlight access, as it is fully roofed over, under shade trees.

My question is this- is it okay that they don't leave the coop much except to eat and drink? They are doing plenty of that, I can def. tell. But I just worry about their mental well-being, keeping themselves cooped up (ha) like they do.

Do they just need time still to adjust, or since they came from a rather shady home before, do they not want to go enjoy some sunlight and bug chasing and grass eating?
Thanks in advance!

FlyGap 05-13-2013 10:40 AM

Sounds like they are happy and just chillin!
If you want them to free range take away their food for a bit. Or start feeding them outside their run. They'll get hungry and start foraging!

Congrats!
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GracielaGata 05-13-2013 10:59 AM

My husband and I both were thinking to do that as well. I didn't want to initially, as the few times I had seen their coop where they came from, there didn't seem to be much in the way of water or food in the coop, for the amount of birds... and they had nothing to forage on. So I felt like that was too much of a crash intro, lol. Let them get some chicken feed in their bellies, then give them stuff.
They do now eat produce scraps, and sucked up their mealworms yesterday. So that made me happy to see... Now they have to learn that there are live bugs to be had in there!! :)

We are going to give them a larger run soon, we wanted to be sure we weren't going to kill them, or have to give them back due to too much work. lol
They are rather easy to care for, so time to get to some extra large run building!!

In an area that size, for 3 chickens, how long can I take their food and it be okay for them to learn to forage? A whole day? I know chickens don't eat at night, correct?

I suppose a plus side to this- these chickens should be fairly easy to bring in from free range in the evenings! lol
Thanks FlyGap! I don't feel like a bad chicken mom so much anymore! :P

Cacowgirl 05-13-2013 11:10 AM

There is a great forum for chicken owners--backyard chickens. There is a WA thread there also. And we have a chicken thread here on HF, too!

GracielaGata 05-13-2013 11:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cacowgirl (Post 2500026)
There is a great forum for chicken owners--backyard chickens. There is a WA thread there also. And we have a chicken thread here on HF, too!

I did find BYC, thanks Cacow! I hadn't gotten a chance to sign up yet. :)
I was stalking the chicken thread here for a bit- from the start!! It is long! But all the birds are so pretty and have such personalities!

I am afraid of our birds still, lol. They are nice, but they have beaks, and claws... and lol. I have my daughter help show me they don't want to peck my eyeballs out.
I can't wait to see if these three will have neat personalities. They seemed a bit empty-headed at first... couldn't use the ramp very well?! Didn't know how to use the roost?! I suppose it wasn't their fault. lol

FlyGap 05-13-2013 11:35 AM

You sound like an eggcelent mom! LOL!

Your birds sound content, are there gnats about? Mine chill in the coop when the bugs are bad, bugs stay out of there.

My birds have a 20x15 coop and a fenced run that's about 4 times that size. I have 14 chickens in there. I let them range around the yard almost every day. The new birds will stay in the coop for weeks before they get accustomed to being "free". So I figure that's what yours are doing.
Your coop/run would probably accommodate
5? Photos??!!! ;)

If I were you I would take away their feed in the mornings and open their run door to the yard. Then replace the feed in the evenings to keep them coming back to the coop/tractor to roost.
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GracielaGata 05-13-2013 01:40 PM

FlyGap- we don't have too many gnats at all that I can tell- they just like to be in the coop it seems!
I guess they have a few more weeks till they feel it's truly safe and home, to go in the run more.
A friend did tell us we could do 10ish in the coop- but I am not looking for making an inner city chicken hi-rise, sheesh!! lol We won't go past 3 in this one, if we get something bigger, and I get more exp. I will consider 6-10 total.
I don't think I can let them truly free range our property. We have 6ish acres... but along with that we have coyotes, hawks and eagles that would gladly eat their feathered butts, not to count at least one of our dogs that would love to kill them. I assume I shouldn't let the chickens out and hope they can get back in quickly enough, if chased, right? I mean the coyotes come nearly up to our front doors- they even play with our horses and dogs... so no protection there, lol.
I do def. plan to let them free range, tho, once we have a bigger predator proof area for them.
Okay, I can't figure out how to resize the pics. HF says the dimensions are too big, and it can't resize them for me at this moment? I gotta figure this out, lol.
Pics to come, I promise!

GracielaGata 05-13-2013 02:07 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Okay, let's see if I did this correctly. It has never asked me to resize pics before?!

#1- One of the 'great predators' with the chickens, lol. I doubt the cat would mess with the chickens, or he would at least learn not to very quickly, but he was very curious the 1st couple of days.
#2- The girls in their coop. It is a bit bigger on both sides than shown in the pic. They are Oreo, Goldilocks, and Little Red Riding Hood. Can you figure out who is who?! lol
#3- A full view of the coop/tractor. That whole area right here is where I plan to fence around to give them a bigger run area. Probably 30x50? Ideally I would love them to come out of that and free range under supervision, but I think I need to be more secure in a recall before I allow that, to be sure they can get put up at night to avoid predators and even the dogs during the day, if we have a whoopsy someone let the dogs out and forgot mishap.
I want to give them some things to hide under in the area as well, from hawks and such.

GracielaGata 05-14-2013 08:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlyGap (Post 2500282)
You sound like an eggcelent mom! LOL!

Your birds sound content, are there gnats about? Mine chill in the coop when the bugs are bad, bugs stay out of there.

My birds have a 20x15 coop and a fenced run that's about 4 times that size. I have 14 chickens in there. I let them range around the yard almost every day. The new birds will stay in the coop for weeks before they get accustomed to being "free". So I figure that's what yours are doing.
Your coop/run would probably accommodate
5? Photos??!!! ;)

If I were you I would take away their feed in the mornings and open their run door to the yard. Then replace the feed in the evenings to keep them coming back to the coop/tractor to roost.
Posted via Mobile Device

FyGap- just wanted to report: they have been out multiple times today, for more than 5 minutes!! Yeay! And I didn't refill their chicken feed, just what they had, and gave them some produce and mealworms. They ate all that up, and one was even tracking a fly in their run today! They can be taught! lol
I think in a week or so more, I will take away the feed during the day, and let them loose, on days I am home all day in case there is a mishap and I have to chase chickens! lol
If they get a running start, will they be able to make it back in the coop before a dog gets them?! Not sure I want to find that out!

Celeste 05-20-2013 12:56 PM

The dog may kill them. I would just keep them in the pen. It looks like it is small enough to move around the yard.


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