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acclimating chickens to their new coop

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Hello all. I finally got my 4 chickens today. I let them out earlier today in the open area surrounded by the mobile fencing. They slowly started to eat and wander around. One of the RIR actually got out and I have no idea! I finally got them to go into their coop, but they didnt go in there on their own until they had no more room to go. They wont go in the coop itself but are just sitting outside in the run, and its very dark out. How do I get them to go in to the coop to roost? Will it just happen with they figure it out? Also, they have taken quite a few runs at the fencing and are trying to squeeze through, will they stop doing as well? Thanks everyone!
 
Suzie Browning
Posts: 48
Location: Southwestern Ohio
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Once the sun has set and they are done for the day, pick them up and put them in the coop.  After a couple of days, they will go in by themselves.

They will eventually figure out the fence is there and stop running into it.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Yeah they dont pick up very well. The guy I picked them up from had hundreds in a small area, I don't even know if they had a roost. It was all indoors. It might just be my newbie ness, but he seemed to man handle them alot. He was not real gentle, so they arent too fond of being near humans yet. I just have to try and get them in softly. Any ideas for getting them to warm up to their new humans?
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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chickens ain't gonna be real friendly, just not in their nature.

once its good and dark you can pick them up without any trouble though as they just kind of shut down at night
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Agreed, night time is the best time to put your hands on them.  At first you may just have to grab ahold.

If I have a 'scary' bird I just grab 'em.  Then I just restrain them in my arms, talking and stroking until they start to relax.  Then I will get down on the ground and slowly release my hold until they are just sitting on my lap on thier own.  Then they can walk away from me. 

My husband and I both try to do this on a regular basis - it does take some time and some birds don't ever totally settle down.  Especially if you got them full grown.

  Our batch of Araucanas are super flighty - they just act totally stupid no matter what.  All of the Araucanas I've had in the past were the most gentle of all of the birds.  But we really haven't spent the time with them like we did the others.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Ill try to get them to relax. I just cant put them into the roost or coop though since the run is attached to it. I cant actually get inside that way unless I unhook the run. Its not really meant to be detached all the time. Thanks for the tips everyone!
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Leave them locked in the coop for a few days to a week until they figure it out that this is home.  I've heard that is the best way.

First week was the hardest with three of ours staying out after dark and the other three finding their roost.  They can't see at night and get firghtened easily.  Some are slow learners, but they will get the idea eventually.
 
Al Loria
Posts: 395
Location: New York
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Brice Moss wrote:
chickens ain't gonna be real friendly, just not in their nature.

once its good and dark you can pick them up without any trouble though as they just kind of shut down at night


Rob, I realized after reading further that your chickens were not raised by you and therefore they have to re-home.  It may take a while to get them to do that depending on how old they are.  Probably the reason they are running at the the fence too. They have no idea where home is now or how to get there.  Patience, and keeping them cooped up for a while is probably going to do it.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Exactly, they are re learning. They have spent the entire day in the coop on their own. I planted some things inside of it before I put the coop on top hoping to give them incentive to stay in there until they are familiar with it. I don't think they have figuered out the roost yet, but 2 of them did cram into the laying box. Im not sure but I don't think they are being broody just yet, they are 3 weeks away from laying eggs im told.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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so the girls are doing a good job of going back into the coop at night, but they are still trying to go through the fence. There is a little strip of amaranth/millet mixed with my fig tree just a few feet outside of their netted area. They keep seeing stuff in there and try to go after it. When I let them in that area, they pretty much laid under the plants all day eating bugs! I have one girl...we nicknamed her clueless because she acts dumb but is very smart and does her own thing. She has flown over the 4 ft fence every day and goes to that little patch, but she is the only one.

I think she is going to keep doing that since its either the shade or bugs that she wants, and the area she is penned in doesnt have that.


Any suggestions? I don't want her getting in the habit of flying out every day. Thanks!
 
John Polk
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Some sort of shade should be rigged, at least for the afternoon sun.  Of course, if she has found a bug haven, she will want to keep going back.  If all else fails, try clipping one wing...that way, even a hop & a flap won't work.

Shade in warm weather is more important than heat in cold weather.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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I have one who always escapes no matter what, happens she is my favorite bird you should put some shade in there for them though
 
                                
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Food.  It is the answer for all things chicken.

As the sun is going down toss something they really like a little at a time and guide them to the coop, when inside, shut the door.

To make them like you.  Food.  Sit on a chair in their run and be quiet, when they finally wander over to you simply drop a small piece of bread in front of them.  A simple reward just for coming over.  People laugh when I walk outside and talk, that is all it takes for the majority of the flock to squawk, flap and flutter and RUN up to me, just in case I have something tasty, which I many times do.   

My husband is the one who invaded their coop, caught them one by one, held them down and clipped wings.  They run squawking AWAY from him, growling and sending up the "sky-is-falling" warnings.

Tami
 
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