Awake at 4:20am?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MrsHall28, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. MrsHall28

    MrsHall28 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2014
    On the days I work I very quietly open the door to the run so my hens can free range as soon as they wake up (usually around 6:30 or so). This morning I went outside to open it and they were both chillin' on the ground in their run wide awake, but laying down. I looked in their roosting area and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Once I opened up the door they walked out and started free ranging. It's pretty much pitch black outside! A little light from the porch, but not much. Very odd...
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That is odd. What time does the very first crack of dawn show?
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Something was in there with them at some point during the night. Something that scared them. Check for losses and access points for critters.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    It's a possibility for sure, but with only two hens, not much point checking for losses. ;) It'd be kinda hard to miss...

    Best wishes.
     
  5. MrsHall28

    MrsHall28 Out Of The Brooder

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    It usually doesn't start getting light until closer to 6:00am. They seemed pretty relaxed. We do have a patio light, but that has never otherwd them before. When I opened the gate they just started walking around eating grass but when the patio light shut off they jut plopped down in the middle of the yard and went to sleep. I double checked their coop and saw nothing and was able to get them to go back. I didn't like them just being out in the yard alone.
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Sounds like the patio light just made them think it was time to get up - no biggie.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh, I think they maybe wake up earlier, and can see better in the dark, than we think.

    My rooster often crows way before there's any hint of light out.....
    .....my friend says they think their crowing makes the sun come up...lol.

    I don't let mine out before well after sunrise tho....too many things hunting at dawn....and mine are confined to a run.
     
  8. LittleGecko

    LittleGecko Out Of The Brooder

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    Have had my easter eggers Donna and Rose enjoying a snack at one in the morning! Even the smallest bit ofllight from the house and their off!
     
  9. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Some chooks either have night vision or something close to it. Mostly I can rely on them not getting up to any shenanigans unless there's enough moonlight, but there's been a few odd hens I've shifted to new cages overnight (broodies etc) who have found their way back to their old cage in pitch black, despite numerous obstacles being in the way, or have rearranged themselves within a cage without light into new nesting boxes or perching positions. Can't be memory alone and can't be their sense of positioning either. (Whatever you call that location sensing/bonding trait). Some of these journeys took some careful acrobatics, not something they could do by touch or memory alone, especially given that usually those hens had never been shifted overnight nor been in the cages I moved them to.

    Overall my chooks are usually up at or around the very beginning of dawn but things like rodents getting around in the cage can get them up sooner.

    As for the roosters, when it comes to night-crowers, it often has more to do with learned or inherited behavior than light levels. If they were in a nearby country maybe their timing would be right but here it's not, and it unsettles the hens and potentially draws predators (not to mention causes the deaths of any neighboring roosters who are within earshot and decide to 'holler back' but happen to live in coops too close to houses.)

    I've also routinely found my hens try to sidle away from night-crowers even if it means falling off the perch. Makes sense; it's night time, they're trying to hide away and sleep, at their most vulnerable, and some genius decides to scream their exact location to the world at large, repeatedly. They're prey animals, and they know it. I've also noticed these sorts of roosters like to perch above or between hens; almost like they're using them as peripheral bait or body shields, lol. I had one male given to me who didn't last more than a month or so because he would crow all night, every night, nonstop, only silent for as long as it took him to draw breath for the next crow. He started around 7PM, soon after dark (it was summer when I had him). Great stamina, too bad he used it at the wrong time. If you don't mind them crowing at night, good for you (and them I guess).

    Best wishes.
     

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