The coop is done. Stephen's amazing, beautiful design. But I must admit, when the chickens arrived 4 days ago, I wasn't sure if the coop raised that high was going to work after all. Was the ramp too steep? Where there not enough "steps" for them to latch on to? These 4 little 12 week old beauties wanted nothing to do with going up the ramp or being put into the coop by hand. I'd put them in and they cried to be let out. They wanted to stay outside all night and sleep on their outside roost, a lovely branch from my cedar tree. It is summer. And the nights are warm. So I really couldn't blame them. But they wouldn't even go up to see the inside of their new home!
I tried one evening. I picked up Mona Lisa (Ameraucana) and placed her on the coop floor. She laid down, but wasn't very happy to be there. She sat in the doorway facing the run. Then I put Buttercup (Golden Comet) there. She stood there looking around wondering how she was going to get down. Then Viola (Barred Rock). She stood and peeped and bobbed her head around, obviously not happy. Then I went to get Big Red (Rhode Island Red). She (probably HE), turned around and glared at me, "Don't even think about it!" Big Red jumped to the ground just as I reached out my hands and stared at me, "Don't you ever try that again!!"
Last evening I even put Meal Worms up there to entice them……. didn't work. I put Viola in the coop and she jumped around trying to figure out how she was going to get back down. "Too high….. Too high," she cried. Then I picked up Buttercup to keep Viola company, thinking that would calm down both of them. Buttercup immediately jumped around trying to grasp onto the walls and then found the top window opening and sat there yelling, "I'm going to jump! I'm going to jump!" and Viola still squeaking "Too high….. Too high." In the meantime, Mona Lisa and Big Red nervously ran around the run trying to find a safe place to hide and get away from this crazy lady that's playing havoc with their peaceful little world.
"There's the ramp down," I kept telling them. "Here. Find the treats I left you up here. You guys aren't even looking!"
So, I gently led Viola to the ramp/stairs to go down and slipped her over the edge. She squawked and ran downstairs. Whew! Safe! Buttercup was going to have nothing to do with that! She suddenly gave out a yell, "Aaaaaaaaaaa!" and jumped and flew down to the ground. All 4 birds safely on the ground now, I left them to find their own place to sleep, figuring they'd find a way to stay comfortable.
Guess what I found this morning when I went to see them? Viola and Buttercup were both in the coop upstairs making a feast of the Meal Worms I had left. They flew in and out of the doorway and up and down the stairs without giving it a second thought. They're starting to grow up and are feeling more comfortable in their new home. I think I'll make the Meal Worm trail again tonight and see what happens.