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Our chickens hate their house! - Page 2

post #11 of 12

Don't worry so much about the roosting - they'll get around to it.  You've got them in the coop and that's a good start.  I posted this on a different thread seems to fit:



Chickens are a lot like this old lady - not real big on change.  I would suggest that you go out after dark and, with as little light and fuss as possible, put them on the roost one at a time.  When you put one up there, stand there and pet her quietly for a few minutes until she settles down.  Then repeat for the rest.  Note :  This is one of those rare times in life when a flashlight with drained batteries is your friend - it's dim but trying valiantly to put out a little light, and "a little light" is just about the right amount.


That's the advice I was given.  Let me tell you, with 22 chickens (most of which didn't like me much to start with) it turned into an episode of Keystone cops!  They were all huddled in a corner in a big pile of feathers.  I reached into that pile, not knowing which chicken or which end of said chicken I was grabbing.  I put him or her on the roost, petted for a few minutes, then reached for the next one.  I got a few up there.  Um, for a few minutes.  Then it became a game of "Hokey Pokey".  You put the Wyandotte on, you put the Orpington next, you grab an Easter Egger and you put it with the rest.  You do the Hokey Pokey and you keep on loading more - and that's when they all jump down."  <sigh>  Admit it, you sang it, didn't you?


So, after a couple of nights out there with frostbitten fingers and much wiser chickens, I gave up.  A wise friend said that they'd get up there on their own when they were good and ready.  I liked that advice waaay better than the advice I'd been following, so that's what I did.  I still did, however, go out and check them every night just to see if they'd actually figured it out.  


One night I went out there as usual and shined the dim flashlight on the roost.  Nothing.  But I got this creepy feeling that something was watching me.  I caught just a hair of movement in one of the studs of the coop wall - a dark blob was up there watching me.  As the kids say, OMG!!  I hot-footed it out of that coop with my heart thudding and at that point realized I'd have no need to use a restroom for the next few hours.  But then I kept thinking, "I've got rats in my coop!  How am I gonna get those rats out of my coop?"  So I ran into the house, grabbed a bright, BRIGHT flashlight, and I went back out there.


I was so brave!  I opened the door back up a crack, shined that light where I'd seen that movement and guess what I saw.  Not rats, I saw chickens.  Chickens roosting in every exposed stud frame in the entire building.  Oh, yippee -  they were roosting,finally.  I got a couple of shaky, not very good photos of them up there and then I went back inside.  The heck with it.  They were now roosting on 2x4s and if those weren't the ones I'd carefully designed and put up for them then so be it.  They'd figure it out when they got to big to fit up there.  Me?  Well, it took a few weeks for that creepy, something's-gonna-get-me feeling to leave when I'd go out there.  But eventually they all started roosting in the right place and they figured it out without my help.  Good thing, on accounta after that I'm DONE helping them learn to be chickens

post #12 of 12

Thank you for your advice.  I put my six  7 week old chick in their new hens house Valentines Day and they Hate it!!!  They cried all night.  I know they would not roost. so I put a nesting box full of pine shavings like they were used to.  Tonight is  night 2 and they are all crying and want out.  There is fresh food and water for them.  But they are still unhappy.  I feel like a bad chicken mommy.  What should I do?

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