Adult chickens suddenly stopped going in coop at night!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PeachygirlGA, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

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    May 25, 2012
    Fort Valley, GA
    I posted this last week but I'm still having trouble with them. They have ALWAYS gone in at night, so I'm really not sure what is going on. I haven't seen anything different in the coop, no rats or snakes or anything. The weather is really not that hot right now because of all the rain, so I don't think that is it either. The only thing that is different is I have 3, 16 week old chicks that recently integrated with the group. There is not really any fighting going on, even though they steer clear of the adults. They had been going in with no problems until last week. I left them closed in the coop/run area for 5 days to see if they would "forget" about not going in, but I had trouble with them again trying to get all back inside. I can pretty much herd the adults in, but the little ones won't go. Should I separate them again and see if that fixes the problem? I really don't know what to do because they so love to free range and since all of this started happening their egg production is way down. They have plenty of food in the feeders, but maybe they are not getting enough since they are used to free ranging in the afternoons. HELP!
     
  2. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

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    May 25, 2012
    Fort Valley, GA
    Nobody has a guess? lol!
     
  3. LadyCluck77

    LadyCluck77 Songster

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    My initial instinct to adult birds not going to the coop is that something happened. A predator may have tried to get in, like a raccoon, and it really freaked them out. They do not adjust well to events like that. The other possibility is a pest like mites. Some mites only come out at night, and its possible they came in with the new birds. These are all just guesses.
    As you mentioned, it could be helpful to separate again for a week and see if that helps. Maybe something went awry with flock dynamics and the pecking order.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Agree with LadyCluck, but I also wonder if it's simply that they get harrassed enough by the older birds that they don't want to be in there with them. Mine do most of their squabbling at roost time.
     
  5. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

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    Thanks for the replies! Got them all in last night with minimal coaxing, so maybe things are ok now. I hatched the little ones so they couldn't have brought anything in. I'm thinking the preditor idea might be the one since it all started at once like that. I'm hoping they have forgotten and will get back to normal now.
    Thanks!
     
  6. RWise

    RWise Songster

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    They haven't forgoten, maybe they'll get over it. I had a possum come in, the Roo got all the girls out, and raise cane until I came out and killed the preditor. Now he has to inspect the coop every night before the girls will go in. If it is to dark a light may help until they get on the roost, well ventilated they need fresh air.
     
  7. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

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    Thanks! I did get them all in again for the past 2 nights with less coaxing. I have a light that comes on at 8:00 and goes off at 9:00. I opened the coop door for more ventilation and just so they could see what is going on in there better. They seem to like the door being open. Some of them go in and get situated early and others will go in and out, in and out a dozen times! They try to roost on some lawn chairs close to the coop but I shoo them off and they go in the coop. Hopefully they will continue to go in and see that everything is ok in there.
     
  8. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

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    Young birds take awhile to learn that the coop is the place to be at night. Safe from weather and predators. Older adults line up on the roost in their specific spot. The youngsters will eventually get with the program and hopefully they do not learn the hard way. If you have a rooster then he may help herd them at dusk.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mathew544

    Mathew544 In the Brooder

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    This happened to my flock and it was because of a bully rooster. Once he was removed from the situation they went right back to going into the coop to roost. For a couple weeks I couldn't figure out what was going on and every night I had to carry them into there coop from all kinds of spots in the barn. Then one night I went out a little early and saw the bully attacking everyone, beating the crap out of them, and chasing them out of the coop, away from the food and water. I'm not sure if you have just hens or a mix but it could be a dominant chicken causing the problem. Good luck!
     
  10. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

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    May 25, 2012
    Fort Valley, GA
    Last night everybody went in on their own except for the little ones. But the funny thing is, they saw me coming to herd them in and they took off running for the coop! lol! And the little rooster was the one "herding" them in. So I'm hoping that he will get the idea and start herding them on his own. One adult hen was lingering outside the coop but she went right in as I headed over that way. I haven't noticed any bullying.
     

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