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Chickens roosting outside.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JeremyCarlsten, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. JeremyCarlsten

    JeremyCarlsten Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2016
    Hey all.

    In the last few months all of my chickens have taken to roosting in a nearby bush instead of inside the coop. Coop is clean, warm, dark. And thy have a nice roost 2x4s laying flat, though some roost on the nesting box (it's a bit higher up.)

    Any ideas why they have decided to go outside?
     
  2. JeremyCarlsten

    JeremyCarlsten Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2016
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Need more info.
    How big is coop (feet by feet)?
    How many birds?
    Any new birds added lately?
    Have you checked the birds and coop for external parasites?
    How's your coop ventilation?
    Climate? Adding your location to your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.
     
  4. JeremyCarlsten

    JeremyCarlsten Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2016
    Thanks for responding!

    It's an 8'x8' building with free will mix of fancy scratch and layer crumbles
    They are allowed to run anywhere they want when the door is open.
    I have 5 hens and 2 or 3 roosters and 2 ducks (one rooster vanished last night and everyone else was inside, need to pair down on the roosters anyway)
    No new birds.
    I haven't checked for parasites but nobody is looking sickly
    It's got a small door maybe 2'x2'(ish i can't remember the measurement) door that is open all day for them to enter/exit, and a large window 4'x4'(ish) that I occasionally open if it warm outside or if it doesn't seem fresh in there.
    Plus the 70"X32" door for me to enter but that's only open for me to enter and exit (screen door isn't attached yet, thinking about it the screen door seems redundant given the 2x2 hole already open)

    I live in central Iowa so climate is... unpredictable, last week was lows in the 20s and hi's in the upper 60s.

    This winter I had on two separate occasions an opossum get in; however, it's been at least a month or two since the threats were neutralized, so I don't think they are scared because of it.


    P.s. I looked at your thread a few times before building the coop, thanks for a good write up!
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Could be the cockbirds are reassessing status(fighting for dominance) with the coming of spring.
    Multiple males, with so few hens, is likely to cause competition problems.
    Could be one is keeping the others out of the coop at night....observation might tell that tale, if you have time to observe of an evening.
    Are the ducks still going in at night?

    Maybe crate up the 2 cockbirds you don't need, preferably out of sight, and see what happens....or just cull them.
    Might want to add some full time ventilation up at the eaves and/or gables (pic of coop would help there) they need fresh air in coop 24/7 all year round.
    Might just be that spring has got them wanting to be outside instead of in stuffy(to them) coop.
    Might have to coop them up for a few days just to 're-home' them to using the roosts at night.

    How old are all these birds and how long have they lived together?
     
  6. JeremyCarlsten

    JeremyCarlsten Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2016
    They are all a little over a year old. I'll make sure to open up the window full time, at least a crack. I did try re-homing them for a day or two, but my friend who rents out a spare room opened the door on me thinking I had forgot it, perhaps I'll try that again without the extra roosters. We are currently incubating some more chicks and ducks so I am hoping to resolve this issue so the newbies don't learn any bad habits.
    Lastly the ducks always go in, once they see me headed that way.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    With eggs incubating, and the inevitable cockerels....
    .....you need to figure out how to manage the extra males, and how to integrate the new birds into the flock.
     
  8. OrionDarkwood

    OrionDarkwood Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2015
    SE NC
    I agree with Aart? We have Australorps and we processed all the roosters except the one we planned on keeping (Chief Highfeather) and a runt (Youngblood) well Chief and Youngblood when the entire winter without any issue. As soon as the warm days and leaves starter growing they went after each other. So we processed Youngblood. Even if they are not fighting they may be trying to asset leadership of the flock by picking a roosting spot for them?
     
  9. JeremyCarlsten

    JeremyCarlsten Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2016
    I don't know if I would call it managing...
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Well, I call it 'Chicken Juggling'! haha.
    But I am the manager, I decide what bird goes where.
     

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