Chickens crammed in coop doorway!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Breanne212, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Breanne212

    Breanne212 New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    I have 12 week old Buff Orpington pullets. Ever since I introduced my 4 girls to their outdoor coop/run 3 weeks ago, at night they all huddle together and cram themselves in their small doorway to the coop. Half their bodies inside, half outside. I've even found one on top of the others trying to be positioned in the doorway as well. There is clearly not enough space for them there, yet when it's time to head in for the night, they always stop in the doorway, and they stay there until I force them into the coop so that I can close it off.

    Has anyone experienced this with their flock before, or perhaps have any insight as to why they're doing it? They seem content being there, but I just find it odd.

    Thanks in advance! [​IMG]
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

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

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    Welcome to BYC.
    This sort of thing is common with birds being newly transitioned to the coop from the brooder -- these birds tend to not have grasped the concept of when to head in for bed and wait until the last possible bit of daylight, as a result the coop interior is fairly well dark when they head in and instead of having time (and light) to get themselves settled in a comfy, appropriate spot for the night they cling to the one last bit of any sort of light.....and that is in the doorway.
    There are a few approaches you can take. One is simply wait and let them grow out of this phase over the next couple of weeks as they become more settled into the new routine and get the hang of going to roost as dusk starts to fall. Another option is to increase the light available in the coop to draw them away from the door and further into the coop -- a photo or two of the coop you have will help in offering just how to do this. A third option is to go out as dusk starts to fall and physically move the birds into the coop and closing the door so that they settle in IN the coop and are not able to crowd in the doorway - this is a lot of work and, depending on the approach you take in doing it, can just prolong the process of them learning the routine.
     
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  3. Breanne212

    Breanne212 New Egg

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    [​IMG]

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    Thank you for your suggestions!
    These are the best pics I currently have that kind of show the layout of the coop. The last 2 pics were taken during build, but nothing has changed other than roosts being added. The coop/run is built onto the bottom of our deck, and we're in the dead of winter so it gets dark here around 6:00pm. I'm sure they can't see a thing with such limited light!
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

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

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    I kind of expected to see this - unfortunately there is no access for outside lighting into the coop except through the pop (chicken) door -- (sidenote, there is also no ventilation)....and the cramped size of the setup makes addressing that rather difficult. One thing you could try is one of those stick up, battery operated "push" lights affixed to the most interior wall up towards the top(above the nest boxes if I am looking at the photos correctly)----you can turn it on as dusk sets in so that the most light is now inside the coop, not outside, and this will help to draw them into the coop as darkness settles outside.
    One other thing you might want to consider is to block off the access to the nest boxes for now. Leaving them open at this point will allow the birds to develop a habit of sleeping in the nest boxes - and a sleeping bird is a pooping bird, which leads to nest boxes full of poop [​IMG]. By not allowing the habit to start you encourage them to learn to roost for sleeping and then when you start to see signs that they are getting ready to lay you can open the boxes so they view them as the place to lay.
     
  5. Breanne212

    Breanne212 New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    We actually do have one of those push lights in there now, but it only stays on for a few minutes and then shuts off. I'm not sure if maybe there's another brand that will stay on longer? Also, the pics don't show it well, but the top of the coop actually does have a bit Of space open to the outside at the top around all 4 sides to allow for ventilation (between the coop and the deck). Whether it's enough, I don't know. We have been meaning to close off the nesting boxes, just haven't yet. [​IMG] I so appreciate your help! My husband built the coop so we are still trying to fine-tune it.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Me too.

    Just so small, with no windows for light and ventilation.
     
  7. Breanne212

    Breanne212 New Egg

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    I thought I would update, since you were kind enough to give some great advice. I purchased a small motion sensing light and installed it today. It's inside the coop and positioned so it will turn on when the chickens come near the pop door. It worked like a charm! When I went to shut them in for the night, they were all completely inside the coop, 3 of them were already roosting. The other was laying on the coop floor. (Is it normal for one to prefer sleeping this way, btw?) Anyway, we blocked off the nesting boxes as well. All in all, I consider today a HUGE success. As for more ventilation? We will tackle that next. [​IMG] Thanks again!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It can be...... when there is not enough space for them all on the roost.
     
  9. Breanne212

    Breanne212 New Egg

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    There seems to be plenty of space. There's approximately 14" of open space left on the 2x4 with the other 3 girls on there. The others are all cuddled next to each other, and this particular bird seems to always be a little bit separate from the group. Together, but separate... if that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  10. RPClark

    RPClark Out Of The Brooder

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    Like you, we're pretty new to this. Our flock is about 28 weeks old. They're laying now (averaging about 6 eggs per day from 14 layers).

    When we first moved them out of the brooder and into the coop they did odd things. Ours tended to all pile up in the corner of the coop. All of them piled onto each other in a space that covered about two square feet. I was concerned that some of them would suffocate in the late summer heat. They ignored the beautiful, perfect, right as rain roosting bars that I had lovingly built with my own two hands. I was also convinced that they were the stupid ones at the hatchery.

    They got it figured out soon enough, and miracle of miracles, none of them died in the evening scrum in the corner of the coop.

    I'm still amazed at how they gather on the roosting bar. Even in warm weather, up to six of the birds will crowd onto one roosting bar that is only about 30 inches wide. They're happy and laying lots of eggs (considering the short days and cold winter weather).

    Your birds will figure it out. They don't like being uncomfortable any more than we do. But their standard for uncomfortable is very different from ours.
     

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