Are My Chickens Stupid Or Do They Know What Is Best?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kimh, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. kimh

    kimh Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Kent Island, MD
    I have 4 hens and this is our first winter. In the summer they enjoy sleeping on top of a dog house that is inside thier run - they have a nice coop that is attached to thier run where their food and nesting boxes are - there is plenty of space to perch, etc. but they prefer to sleep on top of the dog house. I have never worried about it until now. Our lows have been in the 20's with windchills in the teens in the evening and only one of the 4 hens will occasionally go into the coop at night and sleep. I have a tarp on the sides of the run that face the windy North/NW but it's not completely draft free - since it is outside. I'm finding myself going outside at 9PM and taking each one of them off the top of the dog house and into the coop (much to thier dislike) - I then latch the door and wait until the morning to let them out.

    Am I over reacting? If they were really cold would they go inside the coop (like the one did - of course she was sleeping in her nesting box - snug as a bug in a rug) or should I continue to intervene?

    Is there a certain temperature that they shouldn't be out in? We live on the Eastern shore of MD and don't have really harsh winters but it's very unseasonably cold here right now.

    Thank you!
     
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I have one hen and a rooster that roost outside the coop on a wooden board. If the nighttime low is in the 30s, I let them stay outside because they can keep each other warm. Lately I've been putting them in the coop. The lows here have been in the single digits the last few nights, I think last night it was below zero. Combine that with the wind chill, and it's too cold for them to be outside. In my opinion, anyway.
     
  3. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    They just have probably gotten use to going to perch on top of the dog houses. You are doing the right thing by taking them into the coop. You may have to do it for while or if you can move the dog houses out? That may help.

    Everytime we add a new chicken to the group, they start out trying to roost on the nesting box. So every night I go in there when locking them up for the night and putting them on the roost. They have no sense that they are just going to poop on and ruin there nesting box! Finally after doing this for I don't know how many weeks they finally get on the roost!

    You don't want a preditor to find your chickens if they are outside the coop and not locked. You are doing the right thing, you may just have to do it for awhile till they catch on! LOL!
     
  4. kimh

    kimh Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Kent Island, MD
    OHHHHH you are in Wisconsin! Before I started my company, I managed all the Mid-Western states (WI, MN, SD, ND, etc.) -- it's sooooo cold there in the winter. I know it sounds silly - but it seems like a different cold up there then in MD -- -but the people are wonderful! The Apostle Islands in N Wisconsin are gorgeous and I love to eat at Grandma's in Duluth on a cold snowy night!

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  5. kimh

    kimh Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Kent Island, MD
    Quote:Thanks --Fortunatly thier run is a 8' x 8' dog pen with a secure top and chicken wire around the top and 2' out of each side -- we call the it the Poultry Pentagon because it is so secure. I thought about taking the dog house out -I'll have to wait until I have time to disassemble it.
     
  6. ams3651

    ams3651 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2008
    NE PA
    ive read other people who will pen them inside for a few days to kind of 'reset' them.
     
  7. Superior Chicks

    Superior Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Offer them treats at bedtime......instant chickens in a coop![​IMG]

    Ma
     
  8. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    Quote:Thanks --Fortunatly thier run is a 8' x 8' dog pen with a secure top and chicken wire around the top and 2' out of each side -- we call the it the Poultry Pentagon because it is so secure. I thought about taking the dog house out -I'll have to wait until I have time to disassemble it.

    Sounds pretty secure, but we had a racoon "pull" our pullets through the fencing in our smaller pen. We had them seperated till they would be big enough to take the pecking order thing and make sure they were not sick too. Never can be to safe, im my opinion. Guess I feel that way because we have dealt with foxes, racoons!

    edited for the wrong word :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  9. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:Thanks --Fortunatly thier run is a 8' x 8' dog pen with a secure top and chicken wire around the top and 2' out of each side -- we call the it the Poultry Pentagon because it is so secure. I thought about taking the dog house out -I'll have to wait until I have time to disassemble it.

    I would REMOVE the dog house and they need to go where is designed for them and thats a warm and secure coop .


    I have 2 coops and 3 runs . ALL my hens and roosters go inside the coop just before dark . One side of the coop is specially their roosting area . The opposite wall is the nesting area . DO NO NOT sleep in their nesting boxes . I never have to go outside and put any of them inside . The main door is locked and they have a smaller door for them to enter and exist . They enter during the day , ONLY to lay and right back out .

    I have over 100 head . My smaller breeds are in one coop and run area and the main coop and run are for the larger breeds ... the 3rd. coop and run is the area for quarnteened head ( IF NEED ) ....

    They exist the coops ( on their own ) at the break of daylight and enter back just before dark . My main ALPHA ROOSTER controls the flock and 1 small weird noise from him ( chicken talk ) [​IMG] they ALL re-enter the coop for the night .

    Like he is the GOD FATHER of the flock . they all happy , healthy and secure . What more could I ask for ? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  10. kimh

    kimh Out Of The Brooder

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    0
    32
    Feb 12, 2008
    Kent Island, MD
    Sounds pretty secure, but we had a racoon "pull" our pullets through the fencing in our smaller pen. We had them seperated till they would be big enough to take the pecking order thing and make sure they were not sick too. Never can be to safe, im my opinion. Guess I feel that way because we have dealt with foxes, racoons!

    edited for the wrong word :)

    Oh that's awful. My 4 are 9 months old so they are pretty big. I live in a residential neighborhood so we don't see as many predators (except the neighbors dogs -and my dogs!) -Our house is surrounded by hunting dogs -- - could be why we don't see many predators! I have wire mesh and chicken wire over the pen fencing (we live on the water and have more snakes than I like to admit are out there during the summer).

    I guess I'll just have to put them in at night until I can get the dog house out.​
     

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