10 Years
Mar 28, 2011
I lost my 11 month old Easter Eggers, Trixie, today to either sour crop or egg-binding, I think. She'd been sick for 2 days and though I tried everything I could find online, nothing seemed to help.

The problem is that Trixie seemed to be the "bedtime" leader. I'm not sure if she was the top of the pecking order, but she was always the first in line for whatever was going on. She was usually the first to lay an egg on any given day, the first to follow me or my son, and the first to bed at night. Because of that, none of the others seem to have any idea how to put themselves to bed anymore!!! 3 nights in a row, I've had to put them in their coop, and then they keep coming back out! And all 3 nights, they've been roosting out in the open IN THE RAIN!! So I put them in the coop, soaking wet, and they just come right back out. The only thing that keeps them in is to put them on the high roost in the coop, which they've never used until now.

I love my girls and I'm sad that Trixie is gone, but I feel a lot less guilty about eating chicken now that I realize just how pea-brained these creatures actually are!! I hope they figure out this bedtime thing soon. It took about 3 days when they were 7 weeks old. Something tells me that it will take longer now that they are 11 months old.
Sorry to hear about Trixie :hugs
Could you shut your coop door, or even place something in front of the entrance to block it? If they're given no way to come out, they will eventually find somewhere to roost inside, and hopefully that will become their new habit.
Good luck! :)

We don't have a coop door at the moment. The run is really secure so we never saw the need. My husband is off from work all next week and is going to build me a 2nd coop and run for our new chicks. I might have him build me a door for the old coop while he's at it, if this behavior keeps up!
Well I hope you guys get it resolved!
What about covering the run, so even if the chickens do stay outside they won't get wet?
Although my chickens have never seemed to mind the rain. We've found them outside the coop before, sopping wet and seemingly happy!
Hmmm... I never considered covering the run since it's so large, but I'd suppose that is an option.

I guess I'll just treat them like they are babies again and put them in the coop before it gets dark. I'm sure that I can find something to block off the coop door (previous efforts to block the door have always been thwarted). Maybe after a few days, they'll figure it out again. We're just in the middle of a weird weather pattern, and I'm getting tired of getting drenched after dark (flashlight wedged between my knees), hefting 3 wet, disgruntled chickens out of the run and into the back of the coop to the roosts. I wouldn't mind as much if they'd just stay put!

The funny thing that I forgot to mention is that one chicken, my lowest-in-the-pecking-order Buff Orpington, has the sense to go in the coop at night on her own. She's the only one who has been putting herself to bed. I guess since she's the low lady on the totem pole, no one bothers to follow her in.
Oh, I can imagine that for sure, I used to have to collect eggs from under a huge bush/tree in the pouring rain, and that was bad enough! :lol:
I suppose you could always use a couple of layers of chicken wire to block up the doorway at night, which worked for keeping the birds out of our vegetable garden.

Well, seems your Buff has got some sense about her then.
Although I might just mention something else here, sometimes chickens don't like going into the coop because there might be something in there that's scaring them off. It's probably not the case for you as you've got a chicken going in there, but have you checked for little critters or other things of that sort?
I don't think anything odd is in there. I just mucked it all out on Thursday evening and put all fresh bedding down. The only difference is that I used to have a cardboard box in one corner to keep them from laying eggs there. I can't reach that corner (still waiting for the hubby to put an access door there) and they always made sure to lay there. I took the box out after Trixie died just because I felt like having everything fresh. Maybe they are wigged out because it's not there. Then again, they are laying where the box was now (Why?? Why can't they lay where they've been laying for the past 4 months?!?) so that's probably not it either. Also, they weren't going in when it was still there right before Trixie died. Who knows?

They still aren't putting themselves to bed. I blocked them off 2 nights ago, but they did manage to get my block out of the away again. Last night and tonight, I blocked the opening with my own body for a half hour (*mutter*) and then when they looked like they were nestling down, I moved away and watched for a few minutes to see if they came out. They didn't, so I went in and figured if they couldn't keep themselves in, then they deserved to get drenched with the inevitable A.M. downpours (I don't know what's up with the weather around here lately!) I hope they are in now because, sure enough, the rain has started and I hear the thunder rumbling.
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