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Transferring chickens to coop

I’m such a push-over when it comes to my chickens.  They’re so adorable when they are babies and are turning into teenagers.  It must be the problem where things are cuter when they are smaller.  That’s how I felt about my chickens.  And then came the fateful day when the chickens needed to be transferred to their new coop from their previous home in my garage.  I should’ve listened to the advice of the articles I was reading.

Let me go back.  My hubby and I had purchased 27 chicks and raised them from 2 days old in our garage (read how we got started with chickens here).  We started with a small wooden box, which the chicks QUICKLY outgrew.  So we built a wooden cage to act as an expansion to the box.  To my dismay, they outgrew that one just as quickly.  The chicks then took over my garage (I have a three car garage).  No longer could I park in my garage.  There were chickens (and poop) everywhere.

Transferring chickens to coop

I hurriedly forced my husband to finish construction of the coop, meaning everyday after work he was not allowed in the house until he had done something to the coop.  I say that tongue in cheek, my husband loves his construction projects.  But the coop was taking forever to get built!

Transferring chickens to coop

Step number one: Wait until your chickens have fallen asleep to move them to their new coop.

Then came the day when the coop was finished.  And this is where you need to be careful.  Don’t spend all of your time chasing your chickens to try to catch them so you can put them in a coop.  Believe me, it doesn’t work.  Wait until the chickens are asleep.  If you haven’t noticed by now, chickens sleep very soundly and they love to get plenty of beauty rest.

Transferring chickens to coop

Plus, chickens cannot see in the dark.  They won’t see you coming for them.  So that’s what we did when we moved the chickens to their new coop.  We waited until the chickens had fallen asleep on their favorite roost in our garage.  Then, like ninjas, we swooped in and gathered a chicken under each arm.  The chickens put up a minor protest, but quickly settled down.

Step number two: Place the chickens on their roost in the new coop.

Once you have picked up your “sleeping” chicken, take them out to the new coop.  Now remember, chickens cannot see in the dark.  So unless your coop is lighted, place the chickens onto their new roost in the coop.  Don’t throw the chicken into the coop and let them land wherever they like.  They have no idea where anything is at this point.

Place the chicken onto the roost (we use wooden beams), so that they are placed where they will be sleeping.  If the chickens are left on the floor, they cannot see where the roosts are.  Most likely the chickens will end up sleeping on the floor then.  You don’t want that in case you have mice, as mice will chew on the chickens’ feet and steal their feathers.

Step three:   Leave your chickens in the coop for at least 3-4 days.

I admit it.  I didn’t leave my chickens in the coop for that long.  Boy, do I regret doing that.

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My chickens had spent one whole day in their coop and their eyes were looking at me like, “Please mommy, please let us out to play!”  So, I did.  I let them out into their new run.  As fate would have it, it started to rain.  I mean, it poured.

My babies didn’t know what to do.  They didn’t recognize the coop as their new home yet.  As such, they stood in the rain, looking mournfully towards the garage, wondering why they couldn’t get back to safety.  They began to look like drowned rats.

See my article: Can chickens get wet?

My heart broke for them.  I dutifully put on a rain jacket and tried in vain to catch all of the chickens to put them in the coop.  All 27 of them.  All 27 screaming, squawking, wet chickens.  Eventually, I caught them all, but my thighs were on fire.  I learned my lesson.  Leave those chickens in the coop for at least 3-4 days.  They will get acclimated to their new environment and quickly learn that the coop is their new home.

Step four: Enjoy your new coop.

That’s it, you reached the end of your journey to introducing your chickens to their new coop.  See, that was easy!  I’ve told you all of the mistakes that I made so that you will not do the same.  I hope that your chickens enjoy their new coop as much as mine do.

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