Hey, all! My chickens aren't doing some things that I expected them to do by now (they are 20 weeks old!) I thought these were things they would naturally do, but I'm wondering if perhaps I do need to teach them? Especially now that we are getting close to egg laying.
The ladies come out of the coop into the run in the morning and are out all day (though the door is open and they can go in and out freely.) They do not go back in on their own at night. Even if we miss sunset and go out when it is dark, they are piled in a corner in the run. They also do not, under any circumstances, sleep on a roost. In fact I've never seen them on anything higher than 6 inches high. They only sleep in the corners in the coop. We are putting in nest boxes soon, but I know they are going to sleep in them.
When we designed the coop, I had feedback to close off the rafters and it makes me laugh now because they will no go on their roost that is 2 1/2 feet up.
I REALLY want to start letting them free range the yard a bit, but I am terrified because I don't think they'll come back at sunset. Also, despite holding them a lot when they were little, they do not like to be held and get crazy if I try. I'm working on getting over my fear of squawking and flapping now that they are big so they can be picked up easier. I've read to pick them up and put them on the roost at night, but I think they'll lose it if I pick them up at night.
Ideas on how I can make my chickens act more like- chickens? As always, thanks for your insight!