Chickens are.... chicken?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Spoof, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Spoof

    Spoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2011
    Carencro, LA
    I have a mixed flock of 7 about 16 weeks old. They have an 8x4 tractor/coop they live in and I open the door to a 100' x 150' fenced pasture for a few hours before work and in the evening when I get home. I move the tractor around in the area every couple of days.

    They have had this routine for about six weeks and used to wander around. Now I open the door, they follow me to the gate and as soon as I leave run back into the tractor and hang out there - one or two might venture a few feet out but not much, sometimes the maran hens will go out on their own and eat bugs. The cochin roo literally lays under the feeder and waits for the hens to peck pellets for him. Occasionally I'll see them bolt around and flap from, and back to the tractor.

    In the evening it's become the same thing. I want them to range so they poop outside the tractor area so I don't have to move it as much. I want them to eat the thousands of juicy bugs Louisiana is providing for them. It's like the dumor feed I picked up is chicken crack and they can't get enough. Never mind the hordes of juicy grasshoppers and other critters that occasionally jump on them and ride around.

    The last couple days I've tried putting the watermelon I normally give them at the gate instead of in the tractor. They still ran back and hung out in the tractor until sundown unwilling to step foot more than a few feet outside the open door. (Four of them stepped out and then napped in front of it for an hour??)

    Any ideas as to what is going on? Are they just too young? They're already the size of my neighbor's RIR's and BR's. They used to be a bit more adventurous.

    I was planning on a larger permanent coop in the fall, but if the cochins aren't ever going to leave it to poo elsewhere during the day I might do a second tractor.

    Any insight is much appreciated! [​IMG]
  2. yinzerchick

    yinzerchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2011
    I have a large permanent run and coop, the run has a door on it so they can free range during the day. I've noticed that in the morning, just after I open the run door, they all run out to range and peck around. Within about 30 minutes, about half of the 26 are back in the run chilling out, while the rest mosy around another 30 minutes or so. Then about 6-8 end up heading to the barn to hang out all day, and the rest go back to the run.They go in and out throughout the day, but mostly stay in. About 7-8 in the evening they all come out again and range, then go back to the coop in the run for the night. I don't think it has as much to do with eating as is does with hanging out where they like, and think it's safe. It's been really hot too, so I think they're staying as still as possible. They will all run to me for treats and scratch. ALWAYS. I also have a feeder in the coop they can all get to, and they will go in and eat at that too. As for pooping, they do so indiscriminately, any where and every where.
  3. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Maybe it has just been too warm? What about hawks and other predators? Did they get frightened or are they only out when you are there? You could try putting their food outside the tractor or just lifting it up when they can go out. At that age they probably dont need it in front of them all the time.
    HTH--Terri O

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by