Adult hens and rooster boycotting coop!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by corgiscatsandchickens, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. corgiscatsandchickens

    corgiscatsandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haven't posted in a long time, (sure do read a lot, though) this has me stumped. Thanks in advance for the help!

    4 Barred Rocks. 3 hens 1 roo, 1 1/2 years old. Suddenly, out of the blue, they don't want to go in the coop at night. They have a fenced in BIG lot, and the coop is big, too. (we're talking 8'x10' for 4 chickens.) Well ventilated. The last few weeks, periodically they have decided to take in the night air. We've left a light on in the coop to encourage them to come in, but that hasn't helped. They wait until we show up and THEN they decide to walk up the ramp and get on the roosts!

    Last night, we decided to wait the cluckers out, and when we went out late to see--all of them were still in the lot, two hens had decided to bed down on the ground, the roo and another hen were still scratching around, and someone had laid an egg in the lot!!

    All seems fine with the chickens--they seem perfectly healthy, just finished their molt and feathered out beautifully again. Bright eyes and combs, legs look good. I've searched them all at night for lice or mites and no sign of any. Occasionally a mouse gets in the coop, but the chickens/velociraptors think of mice as great entertainment and extra protein.

    We practice DLM, but there is no ammonia buildup.

    Have I overlooked something, or do I just have weird chickens?
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Somebody is harassing them after dark while in coop. Harassment may have occured only once but birds decided coop is too risky.

    Harasser could be any critter this time of year but oppossum, raccoon, skunk, owl or even rats could be involved.

    My birds move different tree or even to a tree in different part of pasture when harassed.
     
  3. corgiscatsandchickens

    corgiscatsandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what could possibly be harassing them in the coop. We shut them in every night, open it up every morning, and that thing is chicken Fort Knox. So is the lot it's attached to-buried chain link with a wire top and no gate. It's so secure, I've seen th chickens in the lot staring up at a hawk perched on top of it. Dogs have tried to dig into the lot with no success and raccoons have scampered all over it. It would take something small to get in. Mouse or snake sized. But mice and snakes always meet with a bad end when they encounter our chickens.

    I'm really stumped.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Something is bothering them. Occassionally my birds have roosting issues and it is always do to some sort of disturbance. If my birds have a close call with a raccoon, it takes several nights at least before they will return to original roost.

    You were thorough in going through factors like lighting, ventilation and parasites. Do you birds appear to be able to see properly? It is way out in left feild but visually impaired birds can have problems getting to roost.

    Mice may be eats during day but at night that will not hold. I have voles with burrows that open up into runs. The voles close off opening during day but come out to glean uneaten grain after dark in part because only safe place from owls. You setup would not be weasel tight but you would have lost a bird by now if they persisted in coming.

    For giggles set out a mouse trap or two. If mouse caught then eaten by somebody else, then something is going on.
     
  5. corgiscatsandchickens

    corgiscatsandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Their vision seems to be good, and usually when i go into the coop, they will eventually come. Usually. Last night i had to put them in.

    As far as mice go, oddly, it's nighttime when the crazy chickens like to hunt them!!! On nights when the moon is bright qnd shines through their window, our crazy roo will actually call the hens to hunt! It's fun to turn off all the lights and watch them hunt just like velociraptors.

    Any other suggestions? I really do appreciate them!
     
  6. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens starting doing that too. What i did was i took all the girls to the coop an hour or two before dark and made it so no light gets through the window. They learned in about a week that darkness means coop. I worked for me, i'd consider trying it out.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    What you are describing does not jive with my experience. My birds can not see well enough even in full moonlight to go after mice and they do not hunt them with regularity even during day.

    Are these birds possibly overly pampared and treating your like flock leader?
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I agree with Centrarchid. I think they are scared of their coop.
     

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