Chickens didn't all come in for the night!! Should I be worried??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mommyofthree, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. mommyofthree

    mommyofthree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Our chickens free range during the day and they always go back in there coop at sundown. Except once, when a couple of them went into the neighbor's yard and weren't able to figure out how to get back around the fence...but hubby went over and brought them home. Also, a couple nights ago he didn't do a head count when he shut the chicken coop at night and one was left out all night. [​IMG] Luckily she was fine, I went out in the morning to find her running around the yard. Tonight he went to shut the coop and can't find two of the hens anywhere....?? We do have some predators around here but we've never lost a chicken yet. And a couple weeks ago hubby totally forgot to shut the coop and everyone was accounted for in the AM, so if the local predators were aware of the chickens I would think they would have gotten some that night. I think the hubby is about to be fired from chicken coop duties, lol.
    So assuming my chickens haven't been eaten by a raccoon, fox, coyote or something tonight, why would they not go into their coop?? Could they just be lost in the yard or do they sometimes like sleeping outside?? Ugh, I hope they come back. And I hope this doesn't turn into a habit because sooner or later the predators will find them!! I'll go out again and look for them before bed. Otherwise I hope they show up in the morning!! [​IMG]
     
  2. HudsonValleyGirl

    HudsonValleyGirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 9, 2010
    It looks like you are going to have to take over the chicken keeping. Good luck.
     
  3. BonnieJean

    BonnieJean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2010
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    Wow... I only have eight and they always come back in- so far! I wish I could help, but haven't had to deal with this problem yet. Good luck!!
     
  4. mommyofthree

    mommyofthree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Quote:Haha, definitely!! [​IMG]
     
  5. mommyofthree

    mommyofthree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Well, I didn't find them last night so I shut the coop really well and left the run open. This morning they were in there!! I was under the impression that chickens always came back to their coop at night....why would they stay out??? Hopefully this doesn't become a habit. We have feral cats, raccoons, possums, red foxes and coyotes around here. [​IMG]
     
  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Sometimes the free range chickens seem to want to revert to their ancestral instincts to roost in trees. I've had some roost in the Cedar tree for weeks at a time and sometimes they don't last a single night out. I keep Guineas with my chickens and they are notorious to roosting in trees rather then the Coop. Well this year about half the Guineas imprinted with the chickens and roosted in the Coop and the other half wanted the wild side----they got whittled down, by Owls, I think, or perhaps by Raccoons when sitting on nests out in the fields. Anyway, it's a good excuse to keep incubating eggs to compensate for "loses"
     
  7. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Who knows why they didn't come back. [​IMG]

    Are they perhaps hiding eggs and about to try sitting on them away from the coop? Did they encounter a fox or coyote which kept them hiding in a tree for 24 hours waiting for them to come down? Did they hear some other chickens or a rooster in the distance, and were trying to visit that coop the previous night?

    You will never know. But, one thing is for sure, you might want to start an incentive program of small treats given just before closing the coop on random nights. (Random because conditioning studies show that intermittent rewards are more effective than consistent rewards - plus less risk of overfed chickens.)
     
  8. MjChickens

    MjChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2010
    La Center, Wa
    Quote:How old are the chickens and how many? if they are still young they may not know they are suppose to go in the coop, you need to around them up to reminder them. And then after a week or so they will know.
     
  9. mommyofthree

    mommyofthree Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    Quote:I have 11 chickens and 2 ducks, they are all about 4 months old. We got them when they were a week and a half old and kept them in the coop from day 1. Then we kept them in the run (afraid cats might get them) until a month or so ago, when we started letting them free range. So I would think they'd know to go back to the coop...??
     
  10. MjChickens

    MjChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You would think they would know where to go. Maybe they are so excited that they have been let out to wander they forget that night fall is coming and not sure where they need to go. But think that they will get the hang of it soon.
     

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