20 week old hens won't go in coop to roost

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dfclimber, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. dfclimber

    dfclimber Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2010
    North of Boston,MA
    Here is the story

    I had a small backyard flock of 3 RIR (each 1.5 years old). In early spring bought 2 light brahma chicks which are now 20 weeks old (but have not started laying yet). They were in an adjacent coop for the past 2 months separated from the older birds only by hard wire cloth and I let them occasionally free range together. The Brahma's had their own coop and had been using a roosting bar in their coop.

    When I merged to 2 "flocks" 10 days ago. The Brahmas (20 weeks and taller and heavier than the RIR) were pecked at a bunch but were able to get away in the enclosed run. They have never gone up into the coop to roost on their own. When I catch them and place them in the coop early evening when all the other go up to roost the Brahmas get pecked at and then come right out. When I do it late at night they stay there until morning. (I do not close the coop door as they have a secure enclosed run. )
    I have caught them and placed them on the roosting bar for the past 5 nights but they will not do it on their own. It is not so easy to catch them as they hide in a hard to reach area under the coop. See pics (https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=52843) . Today is merged flock day 10.

    Should I keep catching them at night and place them in the coop on roosting bar?
    Should I keep waiting and let it happen on its own?
    I expect the Brahma's to start laying sometime soon (hopefully) and I would like them to lay in the coop/nest box rather than in the sandy run

    Any and all ideas are welcome.
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Red hens, in my experience, be they purer bred or hybrids, can be the toughest about the pecking order thing. I'll just say that. I have lots and lots of red birds and likely always will for their egg laying, but golly by goodness, they can be tough, no matter that they are smaller than other breeds. I've had little production reds that are half the size, push around big Rocks like you wouldn't believe.

    The issue will sort itself out, in time. I've never kept Brahmas, but I am guessing they must be on the docile side of things. They'll just have to eventually stand up to the Reds and take their place. They are obviously afraid of them and being younger and less experienced, they just don't have the gumption to push their way into the coop and roost. That's a tough one. Give it some more time. The Reds won't likely back down, but the Brahmas need to step up. Hope they learn to do so.
  3. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2010
    Northern L.P. Michigan
    I have four about the same age - 2 roos and 2 hens and 18 that are a year. I kept the smaller ones in a separate coop until 2 weeks ago. Both coops are connected to the same run. The roos started roosting in the big coop on their own but not the hens. I took the girls in and put them on the roost with the roos every night. Last week I put them on a roost of their own away from the other chickens and they are now roosting on their own. They go back to the same separate spot each night. Maybe if you can find them a spot they can think of as their own it might help.
  4. Kukendame

    Kukendame Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2010
    North Idaho
    I have the same problem.[​IMG]
    I have 8 one year old hens( 1RIR and 7BR) I have introduced 5(BRs), they are now 18wks. They will not go into the coop on their own. They get along fine during the day but also have a large area to roam. I have taken them each in by hand every night and wonder if they will eventually go in on their own if/when it gets cold.
  5. 3000rpm

    3000rpm New Egg

    Jul 25, 2011
    i have similar problem, im new to my hens got them 2 weeks ago and have 5 in total

    i got a coop big enough for 8 hens and i have 5 so plenty space and it has an outdoor small run, i did plan to have them freerange all day in the whole garden but they were making a mess so i built a large run around 15 foot by 10 foot and its concrete slabs on ground with straw over the top to keep it clean, i also have a clear roof so light gets in and its nice and dry

    my problem is that the hens do not go inside to roost at all, when it starts to get dark they all fly onto the top of the coop and sit on the roof, i then need to pick them up one at a time and put them inside and i lock them in

    i would prefer if they went in by themselves is there anything i can do so they will do this or would it be better to just leave them to figure it out themselves

    i am worried to leave them out all night incase they start making a lot of noise as i am in a housing area, during the day they do not make much noise at all though, we do have some foxes go around but im pretty sure they could not get to them with the metal wire and concrete on the ground

    any help would be great thank you [​IMG]
  6. jtrisha1

    jtrisha1 New Egg

    Jul 25, 2011
    I have 3 rhode island reds that are 2 years old. This past Spring (in April) I bought 2 more chicks a plymouth rock and a black sex link. I kept them separate from the original 3 weeks ago. I brought the 2 into the coop with the other 3 and one of the original 3 immediately went after the plymouth rock. At the time, they were about the same size as the ri hens so I figured it was a size issue. I waited until the next weekend and brought the 2 girls back into the coop, the 3 ri stayed at one end of the run and the other 2 at the other end....all seemed fine then one of the ri hens went after the plymouth rock hen pecking her crown making her bleed. I took them out. The next day I tried it again they did OK for a few hours, then the ri hens went after them again. Since day one the two new hens have never roosted ever. They sleep on the floor of their coop (which for now is a really large dog crate in my garage that has a roost). Last night I put the 2 girls in the coop after the 3 ri were sleeping and left them in there all night, no issues at all.....until the morning, when all of them were in the run area. Both new chickens had there crowns pecked at and were bleeding. [​IMG] I took them out again. I really want them all in the same coop. Do I put them all in and hope for the best? Any help/suggestions would be great. Thanks so much.
  7. Kukendame

    Kukendame Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 28, 2010
    North Idaho
    Trisha, If you have enough room in the coop, you could section a part of it off with a fence or chicken wire. This way they can get used to each other for few days before you let them get in contact. There will always be some bullying but hopefully nothing serious at that point. I did this with mine a it worked well although the new ones will not go in to roost. I keep the food in the coop and they will go in to eat. I think I may have to lock them up in the coop for a few days to get them to take ownership of the coop with the others. But I think I will wait til its cool in the fall. I worry about mine as well more for predators than the anything else. I'm just getting of tired of taking them in every night.
    Hope it works out for you. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011

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