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Chickens roosting outside of coop

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My chickens have been happy with their coop for over a year. For about 2 weeks, though, 5 of my 6 hens have been roosting outside of the coop - on my patio furniture, fence posts, etc. the other hen has been broody. The weird thing is, they've still been laying in the nest boxes. Any ideas as to why they're doing this? Any ideas what I can do about it?

BTW, I did move the broody to a broody pen today. I also managed to catch 3 of the 5 wayward hens and put them in the coop this evening. I thought I could keep them closed in for a few days to see if that would fix things. The problem is, what do I about the other two? If I keep the 3 closed in, the other 2 can't get in at all. And the 2 I didn't catch are probably not catchable.


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Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

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Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

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post #2 of 10

Is it too hot in the coop?

Katie 

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Katie 

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post #3 of 10

Check for mites/lice...they may be being bitten in the coop at night. There is a mite that just hides in the coop and comes out at night. If you treat make sure to retreat at 7 days for mites and 14 days for lice.

Small flock of Black Australorps, EEs, and Nankins.

"The love of heaven makes one heavenly." - William Shakespeare

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Small flock of Black Australorps, EEs, and Nankins.

"The love of heaven makes one heavenly." - William Shakespeare

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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickensAreSweet View Post
 

Check for mites/lice...they may be being bitten in the coop at night. There is a mite that just hides in the coop and comes out at night. If you treat make sure to retreat at 7 days for mites and 14 days for lice.

 

:goodpost:

Katie 

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Katie 

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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I doubt it's too hot. We've actually had some cooler weather lately and the coop is shaded and well ventilated.

Interesting about the mites. I'll check them in the morning. If it is mites, I can treat the coop and the three hens that I've caught, but I don't know what I'll do about the other two. Or would treating the coop be adequate?


Sent from Sarah's iPhone

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

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Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoggle View Post

I doubt it's too hot. We've actually had some cooler weather lately and the coop is shaded and well ventilated.

Interesting about the mites. I'll check them in the morning. If it is mites, I can treat the coop and the three hens that I've caught, but I don't know what I'll do about the other two. Or would treating the coop be adequate?


Sent from Sarah's iPhone

 

There are mites that just live in the coop and there are mites that live mostly on the birds but you also find them in the litter. Lice live mainly on the birds but it is good to treat the coop anyway.

 

So ideally you treat the birds and the coop, and retreat the birds to break the life cycle.


Can you put treats in the coop and then close the door when they go in?

Small flock of Black Australorps, EEs, and Nankins.

"The love of heaven makes one heavenly." - William Shakespeare

Reply

Small flock of Black Australorps, EEs, and Nankins.

"The love of heaven makes one heavenly." - William Shakespeare

Reply
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickensAreSweet View Post
 

 

There are mites that just live in the coop and there are mites that live mostly on the birds but you also find them in the litter. Lice live mainly on the birds but it is good to treat the coop anyway.

 

So ideally you treat the birds and the coop, and retreat the birds to break the life cycle.


Can you put treats in the coop and then close the door when they go in?

 

I've managed to catch 4 out of the 5 wayward hens.  I just waited until evening, found them roosting in the yard, and picked them up.  The one that is still loose must be roosting in one of the barns.  I tried to get her with treats today, but she wasn't going for it.  (Admittedly, she scares me a bit, as she gets downright nasty when broody!)  I've kept the ones that I caught locked up in the coop for a few days now.  I treated them all with Sevin Dust and dusted the coop.  I'm going to let them all out tomorrow when I do a thorough coop cleaning/treatment.  Then I'm hoping that the last hen will return to the coop with the others tomorrow evening, assuming they roost in the coop tomorrow night after being "locked up" as a reminder of home.  If they all go back in tomorrow night, I can dust them all again while they roost.  

 

Cross fingers that this works!

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

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Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

Reply
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Okay, I've tried just about everything.  I cleaned the coop out thoroughly.  I sprinkled it with Sevin Dust to treat for mites.  I treated the chickens and didn't see any mites or anything on them.  I kept them locked up in the coop day and night for the last week.  I let them out on a trial run today and 3 of them still tried to roost outside.  :-(  They did still go back to the coop to lay though.

 

I did see where the one (an Ameraucana) that I haven't been able to catch in all of this, is roosting.  She's literally 20 feet up in a tree!  I can't catch her during the day and I don't see how I can get her out of the tree when she is roosting!

 

So I have all but the Ameraucana back in the coop.  I can leave them in for a while again, but I'm not sure that will change anything.  I hate leaving them locked up, because it means the Ameraucana is locked out of the coop.  I'll do the second treatment for mites/lice tomorrow night.

 

Any other suggestions?

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

Reply

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

Reply
post #9 of 10
Create a small temporary run attached to the coop and confine them so they have to return to the coop at night to roost....
USAF 02'-Present
Proud Father of 4 Girls and 1 Boy
Stationed at RAF Lakenheath, UK
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USAF 02'-Present
Proud Father of 4 Girls and 1 Boy
Stationed at RAF Lakenheath, UK
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
After treating for mites and lice with no change in behaviors (and never seeing any signs of parasites), my husband brought up another possible cause. The outdoor roosting all started after we lost our rooster. Not right after (I would have thought of it sooner if it had been right after), but several months after.

So, we were going to wait until next spring to get more chicks (and keep one rooster), but decided to pick up a trio of 2 month old Welsummers today. So they're in the old barn in quarantine for a few weeks.

We do have a small enclosed run for the chickens that I need to cover (to keep them from flying out of it), that I'll probably use until the rooster is closer to full grown. Hopefully the new roo and our soon to be cold weather, will get them roosting in the coop again!


Sent from Sarah's iPhone

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

Reply

Owner of: 1 Great Dane, 1 Yellow Lab, 1 house cat, 4 barn cats, 3 horses, 16 chickens, and 1 very patient husband 

 

And best of all, I'm finally mama to my Samuel (12/28/2012)  

Reply
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