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chickens don't leave coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newjchick, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. newjchick

    newjchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Hi, everyone. Maybe you can help me figure out what I think is some unusual chicken behavior. My 17 week old chickens rarely leave their coop. They have a large, fenced-in run which we spent days slaving to build, and they hardly spend any time in it! I can't figure it out. Should I close the coop door for a few hours and force them to stay outside for part of the day? I'd hate to do that, as consequently they'd have nowhere to hide from hawks and such, but I can't imagine that staying "cooped up" [​IMG] all day is good for them! Let me add that my chickens were spending a little more time outdoors a few weeks ago (not much!!), but last week one of their flock was killed by a hawk while they were free ranging. I think that scared them good, so now they only come out for a few minutes at dawn, and I don't see them for the rest of the day. However, staying inside the coop was a problem even before this incident, so I'd appreciate any explanations and/or advice for getting my girls outdoors more. Thanks!
     
  2. goldies99

    goldies99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2011
    what is your weather like??...maybe they dont want to be out in bad weather!....i dont think i would force them out...give them time....leave the door open if they
    want to go out...maybe come spring they will be over what ever is bothering them!
     
  3. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    They are probably still a little spooked by the hawk. Do you have a cover over your run? They might be a little less scared if you put a tarp or something over the top. But I bet if you keep your pop door open they will go outside eventually, especially if you keep food or treats out there for them. We keep our waterers outside and feeders inside. If there's plenty of room inside for them they'll be fine. You don't say where you live. If it's cold they might just be more comfortable inside. Keep us posted!
     
  4. ridgewood chickens

    ridgewood chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 21, 2011
    Monadnock Region, NH
    My RIR's are about 27 weeks, and have always spent a lot of time outdoors, even now with the weather getting colder. My run is covered with wire to prevent predators, and to encourage them to spend time in it, I put in some kind of treat almost daily, even if it's just a little scratch mix spread around on the ground, and once or twice a week I put a layer of straw in which they love to go out and dig around in. Good luck!
     
  5. newjchick

    newjchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Sorry, forgot to tell you that I'm in western New Jersey. Temps are in the 40's now, some days 50's. Yesterday was beautiful, though - I had my kids outside for bike rides & yard work, but we hardly saw our girls! They only made an outdoor appearance when the kids and I brought treats in their run.
     

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