Chickens in the night

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GulfBamaChick, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. GulfBamaChick

    GulfBamaChick In the Brooder

    91
    4
    48
    Mar 21, 2014
    Mobile Bay Area
    I have a backyard flock. They are free range, at night they roost in the trees. They prefer this to the coop. They are 20 weeks golden star hens and a mutt barred rock roo. Tonight, 3 of my girls where pecking at the back door [​IMG] which they do when the want me to come out (11p very dark out). They seemed out of it, and wondered mighty close to the dog who is on a runner by a big tree [​IMG]. The dog will chew on them like a toy given the chance, and they were mighty careless about getting by him[​IMG]. One of them even looked as if she was bit on her little comb and had blood and a small piece missing. They have never behaved this way, and the other two hens where roosting happily in the tree above the coop. Should I be concerned about this wondering at night? I took them over and put them on the coop we are building. They just really seemed confused[​IMG].
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  2. They do get easily confused after the sun sets. For whatever reason the did not fly up soon enough then the darkness prevented them.
    Some Sex Links tend to have less feather development that makes it harder to fly very far.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. Oh by the way. Howdy neighbor!
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging 8 Years

    20,120
    5,206
    556
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You have a major problem! Something scared birds out of tree. Do a head count and open up you coop so more light in there at roosting time. Look for evidence of a kill within a 50 foot radius of tree. I have every bit as much experience as anyone when it comes to having birds roost in trees and learned quickly when to do predator management. Get serious with dog and train it not to harm birds so later birds can roost more safely in trees. Otherwise you have birds between rock and a hard place and will loose your investment.

    Critters most likely to cause chickens to bail from tree roost include great-horned owl, raccoon and grey fox roughly in that order.
     
  5. GulfBamaChick

    GulfBamaChick In the Brooder

    91
    4
    48
    Mar 21, 2014
    Mobile Bay Area
    Oh the dog is really far from the chicken coop, the tree they roost in is above the coop. You can’t really train a dog not to try to chase chickens. In my presence he wont harm a feather on their head, but when by himself he is going to be a dog[​IMG]. They have plenty of room to stay away from each other, but the dog can reach up to about 4’ away from the back door. He doesn’t chase them all the time, but sometimes he can’t help himself, other times he will lay there and watch them steal his food[​IMG] lol. I DO have owls in the area, but they are not huge, and my girls are rather large. Not sure if they would bother the big ones. I live in the suburbs on the outs of town. Racoon possible but the other 3 were just as peaceful as could be in the trees. They really just seemed as if they chose to wonder around. They did not seemed alarmed, just a little confused in that “evening state” and pecking at the door like they wanted food[​IMG]. I just did not know if this was odd behavior maybe because they are going to start laying soon, or if more mature chickens would do this now and then or what. I don’t think it was a predator, i really think she got nipped a little by the dog because the kept wondering rather carelessly RIGHT ON THE LINE of where he can reach[​IMG].
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging 8 Years

    20,120
    5,206
    556
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You are in the process of being schooled by the local wildlife that has no problems with suburban living. You just do not know it yet. You are also incorrect regarding the dog. I have dogs and ran the gambit of troubles they can be until they are your best friend when it comes to keeping chickens.


    Keep us posted on how things change as you see them. Effort to get them in the coop and listen for owl calls. I am quite certain you will hear someone that says "whoaw".
     
  7. GulfBamaChick

    GulfBamaChick In the Brooder

    91
    4
    48
    Mar 21, 2014
    Mobile Bay Area
    If you have tips on how to train my hound to NEVER chase chickens let me know, I am open to suggestions. I thought he was doing good only chasing them away from his area and not attacking them hard core. I did find out it is him that nipped her because she is going over to his bowl irritating him trying to steal his food I saw him get her again in the same spot. They have an entire 1/2 acre to roam that he can’t reach.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging 8 Years

    20,120
    5,206
    556
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    The dog training part is fairly strait forward but labor intensive. We used to keep black and tans for coon and fox hunting and they were kenneled or tied out among birds. The unpleasantness around the food bowl seldom left a small mark on a chickens head as that is not the location dog attacks and teeth poorly suited for making such wounds because too big. Current dogs I use are German Pointers and they free-range with multiple groups of free-range chickens over several acres. I do not like the use of the term "NEVER", rather the term "seldom" with now harm done should be your objective. Chasing during training process is to be expected and is indicative of dog having correct mental state for dealing with predators.

    First, post a picture of your coop and indicate orientation to sun at dusk.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: