Chickens sleeping in run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by saraem, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went out this evening to check that the chickens were up on the roost in the coop and not in a pile on the floor (they're 3 months old), and found them on their roost in the run! No idea how long they've been doing this as it's been awhile since I've been out to spy on them at night.

    The run is secure (1/2 inch hardware cloth covering every opening and buried into the ground; door locked with a barrel lock and an additional lock through the hole of barrel) so we never close the pop door.

    It's been really hot so I'm thinking they're more comfortable outside.

    My concern is that some of them were actually on the framing 2x4 and not the roost so they're pressed up against the inside of the hardware cloth. Could a predator get at them like that? I'm new to chickens so I don't know what their behavior would be if terrorized at night; I'm guessing if they had the smarts to move away from the side they'd be fine but I don't know if they would do so in the dark.
     
  2. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is the coop if it helps visualize. The roost in the run wasn't up yet in this pic, but some are sitting right on the 2x4 that cuts it in half vertically.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. TerryH

    TerryH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Need more information. How many chickens do you have? Is there ventilation and/or a window? Your location isn't listed. That would really help when you have questions. The answers will likely be different if you are in south Florida vs the UP of Michigan for example.
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    Cute little setup! When you think of how wild chickens roost, it's not surprising to find chickens still wanting to roost out in the open like yours are. As mentioned, if you live in a cold climate your birds may be at risk of exposure. However, if you are like most of us in the US right now, most of us are melting as soon as our feet touch the ground and your birds should do well at this time. While hardware cloth is the best to use, since your bird are pressing against it, I would put up a metal barrier just for safety sake. Or you could add an extra layer of hardware cloth to give extra protection. It is good to be well informed of what kind of predators that are in your particular neck of the woods, too. While raccoons and opossums are common in our area, if you have to deal with weasels or bears you'd best be rethinking the design of your coop. Either way make sure all crevices and 'open areas' are covered and the base of your coop is well secured. Be sure to check your roof area as I can see a determined predator ripping that off to get your birds. And don't forget how well snakes can climb!

    Predator proofing is always frustrating but once you get in the mind of the predators you are dealing with, you can build a safer, stronger coop for your birds.
     
  5. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 4 chickens and yes, there's ventilation in the henhouse. The whole top is open with an ~8" gap in front between the top board and the roof (maybe 3 inches in back? Rafters are cut from a 2x10.) We also leave the pop door open and have a window opposite. Still, it's been very hot and humid here in GA and not cooling down much at night.
     
  6. TerryH

    TerryH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Do you know if they have been roosting in the coop and changed their habits? We had ours locked in the coop for a couple of weeks before the run was done. That "homes" them so they realize that is where they are supposed to sleep. I would try putting them in the coop and closing the pop door for a few nights. I personally would not be comfortable with them sleeping in the run permanately.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If that ventilation gap is covered with hardware cloth, then they should be fine sleeping in the run portion.
     
  8. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We live in an urban area and I'm guessing raccoons, opossums, and birds of prey will be our biggest issues, although I have not seen any so far. We have 10' fences all around and a dog, but there's always the possibility of something like a coyote, too, I suppose. Not sure about weasels.

    Regarding the roof, do you mean ripping the suntuf paneling off? It's screwed into the purlins at many points; I don't think anything short of a bear could do much damage there. There is also hardware cloth at the top of the coop (below the rafters) so even if the paneling came off they would still be protected. If you mean the hardware cloth up there I'm not sure how to make that any more secure than it is.

    A metal panel is a good idea. I'm assuming they'll move back into the henhouse once it cools down, so I'm not too worried about exposure.
     
  9. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they've been sleeping in the coop since we moved them outside. We did have to go lift them onto the roost from the floor for several nights, but then it seemed like they got it and I would see them go up into the henhouse nightly so I hadn't been out to spy on them in a few weeks. It's possible they've been out in the run for the last week or so, but not longer.

    The only changes we've made are that we added an additional roost in the run, and that it's been hotter at night.
     
  10. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, everything is covered with well-secured hardware cloth :)
     

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