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Hello All

Finally took the plunge and got myself 8 Hybrid Chickens (2 leghorn, 2 blue, 2 Marsbars, one Black rock, one mottled leghorn and a RIR cross Rooster)  Hoping for a nice mix of blue, white, dark brown and brown eggs :)

However I locked all the chickens in the house for the first day and now I cannot get them to go out into the run.  This morning I physically lifted them all into the run and locked them out of the coop for a couple of hours but as soon as I opened the door they all when straight back inside...

Any thoughts would be great! as I want to see them scratching around etc!

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My guess is they have never lived outside before, or if they have they didn't have the wide ranging views you have. In effect they are agoraphobic, so have a fear of open spaces. We bought a cockerel that lived his life in a 3' x 2' box, his only view was through a small mesh window into another run. When moving him he was happy in the boot of the car but wouldn't go into the run of the quarantine coop until the sides were covered. Took him a few days to get over that and another few when he was introduced to a free-ranging enclosure.

The food and water should normally be outside, which gives them an incentive to go out and avoids spillage in the coop. They won't eat and drink in there under normal circumstances, as it will be dark they they will sleep. An important point here; the run grass is far too long and it is all too easy for a bullied bird, who can't get to the feeder, to fill up on the long grass which will impact the digestion and lead to their death two weeks later. For that number of birds I'd have three drinkers and feeders out, at least for the first month or so until they start laying, which they may not do this late in the year anyway. You will need a cover over the run at your access point, to keep the feed dry.

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Thanks Beantree, these were the initial photos I took that I uploaded.  I have since covered the entire run and have feeders inside and out.

Yes my thought is that they are scared of the open run, I will just have to be patient and let them settle I guess.  In terms of the grass, I do have plans to cut this in due course, however it isn't a concern as no chickens are going outside atm.  Will monitor

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I'm sure that they will accustom, given time. It's just frustrating when you want to see them out and about though! They probably feel safer indoors as they are in a new place but should be out and about once they get used to their new home.

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Yes Penny, the chicken I have bought for my nephew whose parents would never have chickens has been out and ventured round a couple of times.  Duck also has been seen out!  Very excited to seen them settle in!

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To be honest, if I was a chicken right now, I'd want to stay indoors in this weather too.

I think all of your chickens look lovely.

I can't wait to hear about all of your chicken adventures and your first egg 😊

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Ditto what the other have said:

  • Covered run
  • Food out in the run
  • Chuck them out and close the coop door for a bit

Looks like you have done that anyhow :)

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All free ranging now!  I knew the run was too small, but intend to let them free range the most of the time and just use the run when I am away and secure at night etc.  I do have a ChickenGuard on the hen house door as my wife does not share the same passion as me for the girls and some nights I am away on business.

 

Isn't it a joy to watch them go about being chickens.  Isn't it weird how the will suddenly take off flapping their wings, is this them reacting to the wind or establishing a pecking order?

 

As yet I haven't heard the rooster (RED) crow once but he has tried it on a couple of times with the girls.  This has been all one sided however!

 

Just can't wait for the 1st egg!  I have put in a hard boiled egg from the fridge to see if this encourages them but I imagine that is just a myth.

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I also doubt that putting an egg in the nest box will encourage them to lay Dan. However 'pot' eggs (you can get rubber ones as well) are put in to encourage broodiness and we have used them to stop egg eating. These are both things that may well happen later unfortunately.

If the first photo shows the nest box access, I can't see a lock on it. You will need one as that's an easy access point for predators.

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Fair enough I still get a momentary thrill from seeing an egg in the nestbox though Beantree 😁

Also that isn't a nestbox you can see in the photos, these are at the other side and do have a lock on them.  That is actually a built in feed trough which I do not use.

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Looks like a lovely set up; I hope the chickens appreciate the views (top pic!) - I'd kill for an outlook like that. Whereabouts are you?

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5 minutes ago, soapdragon said:

Looks like a lovely set up; I hope the chickens appreciate the views (top pic!) - I'd kill for an outlook like that. Whereabouts are you?

I'm in L'Derry,  Northern Ireland, the view looks out over lough foyle and Donegal which is the republic of Ireland.  Here it is in a foggy state

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Edited by DanTheChickenMan
  • Thanks 1

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Wow!!! What a stunning location. Your girls may wait until after Christmas when the days start to draw out a bit before they start laying, but it’ll be worth the wait 😀

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Beautiful location - just...WOW!

You may be fortunate and get an egg or two but don't be surprised if not. It would be nothing to worry about - just their natural cycle.

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3 hours ago, DanTheChickenMan said:

Would they wait that long mullet hunter even they are at Point of Lay?

To be honest it does depend on the individual and as soapdragon says you might be lucky and get an egg sooner, but as I understand it daylength is an important factor in egg laying, so if they haven’t started already they may not until day length increases a bit. Having said that it doesn’t seem totally uncommon for one or two to lay around Christmas / new year.

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14 minutes ago, mullethunter said:

To be honest it does depend on the individual and as soapdragon says you might be lucky and get an egg sooner, but as I understand it daylength is an important factor in egg laying, so if they haven’t started already they may not until day length increases a bit. Having said that it doesn’t seem totally uncommon for one or two to lay around Christmas / new year.

Mullethunter is right - the daylight hours trigger them to feed, which in turn encourages growth and sexual maturity. A quick scan of your photos doesn't show many red faces or combs, so you may well be waiting a while.

Generally speaking.... if they are hatched before the longest day of the year, then you'll get eggs around 20 weeks of age, and probably a mini-moult that Autumn, especially if they hatch early in the year. Hatches after the longest day may well not come into lay before the end of the year and most certainly won't moult. Having said that, there's always the exception which hatches around the time of the solstice!

I think you'll want to expand your run - don't forget that they need more than enough  space to be in there 24/7 if there's a DEFRA prevention zone set up.

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