Are chickens scared of the dark?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by INchickens, May 9, 2008.

  1. INchickens

    INchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    We have had a heat lamp in the chicken coop since we've moved them outside. Now that the weather has warmed up, the heat lamp isn't on during the day....and if we don't turn it on before dusk, the chickens won't go back into the coop. It's as if they are scared of the dark. I thought they knew to go in and roost before it got dark. How do we train them do that....or do we have to get them a night light? [​IMG] We got home tonight and they were all huddled in a corner of the run and wouldn't go in until we turned the light on and physically chased them in.
     
  2. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Once youve got them roosting in the hen house and put them in every night for a while they should call it home and always feel safest there,and will most always return at dark.
     
  3. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    It might help to walk them into the coop at dusk. There should be enough light in there for them to see to go to roost. It not them you need to make sure there is. Once it gets dark place any that didn't go to roost on the perches.

    Matt
     
  4. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Mine have seemed to be! Once I started turning off the heat lamp for my older chicks, they made quite the racket when it was lights out time. [​IMG] They sure would let me know that they didn't appreciate being in the dark anyhow! [​IMG]
     
  5. INchickens

    INchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    They have been in the coop for 4 weeks now, with us coaxing them in every night. They don't know enough to go in by themselves. Will it hurt anything to put a low wattage bulb in there an leave it on?
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    They need to learn a natural routine. If they are not instictively seeking the house at dusk you should put them there yourself. These chicks have not had a momma hen to teach them what a chicken should do. You are for lack of a better term are their momma hen now. You have to teach them to go in and go to roost at night. They will settle in.

    As they grow up chickens sort of zombie out in the dark. They go into a chicken trance and sleep. This is why you can make some of the biggest changes at night because they are too out of it and wake up in the morning and don't know something changed.

    You have to teach them to be chickens.

    Another thing - when you put them out did you lock them in the hen house for a week or three? If not they don't associate it as 'home'. If the hen house has windows and ventilation close them in for a week or two. They will learn in that time that inside is their home and it is safe. When you let them out they will always go back 'home'.

    Ever heard the term - Chickens coming home to roost - that's where it comes from.
     
  7. INchickens

    INchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, they were locked in the house for about 3 weeks before we started letting them go outside. Maybe once we don't have to use the heat lamp at all, they will get used to "the dark". Thanks for the suggesstions. I'll keep trying.
     
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Here's a tip:
    When all else fails, follow the advice of Miss Prissy. She's spot on.
     
  9. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

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    One thing you may need to check for is MITES. If you have mites in the house the birds will be more prown to want to sleep elsewhere.

    Wait till dark and then check cracks, seems, under perches, and of course the birds.

    Mites are little black crawlies that suck blood. A good dusting of 5% seven Dust will get rid of them immediately.

    Matt
     

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