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Chickens staying out after dark.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 70monte, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. 70monte

    70monte Songster

    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    Ever since the time change, my chickens have been staying outside after it gets dark. The inside and outside coop lights are on and sometimes the porch light on the house is on, but they are still walking around in the backyard in the additional area I fenced in. They eventually all go in to roost but its usally around 7:00pm before they do this. Last year they didn't do this but of course I had a different coop with no lights in it. Does anyone elses chickens do this? Maybe I should leave the coop lights off. I don't want anything to get them when its dark out.


  2. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chirping

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    I've discovered mine stay outside the coop if the interior light is on. However, they go inside at dark if the light is off. In order to satisfy their lighting requirements for egg production, I leave the patio light on. At some point in the evening they go into the darkened coop. It may work for you. Give it a try.
  3. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Songster

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    I wouldnt allow them to wander around after dark..that is asking for trouble. Predators are most active at dusk and dawn. I would make what ever changes I had to do to get them back in the coop before dark.
  4. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    mine always head for the coop at dusk except for my brown leghorn who decided a tree was fun but now that the leaves are gone she comes in too.
  5. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    I've been experiencing the same things since the time change! I just wait for them. No way I'm going to try to go round up 49 chickens in the dark!! The coop light comes on at dusk and stays on till 8 so it's not like they can't see in there! I'm about to switch it around though. I'm going to put a low watt bulb on so all the tme so they can at least see to get on the roost and then have their light come on in the am to help with the added daylight for egg production.
  6. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Quote:Unless you told your hens about the time change( LOL)..there must be some other reason they are staying out. They have no idea the clocks were turned back..What did you do different as of the time change. Did you adjust your lighting schedule, IE adjust the timer? Perhaps other lights are now on around the yard or house that didn't use to be?

    One time I was working in my shop, that has a window overlooking the chicken run. I had the lights on as I was working into the later evening. I guess there was enough light in the run that the birds decided not to go, back to the coop, as when I turned out the lights, and went out to close the chicken door, they were all still standing around in the run. They looked quite shocked as it got dark for them pretty darn sudden. I had to carry them all into the coop. [​IMG] Now I close the blinds if I am in the shop, to prevent that happening again.
  7. 70monte

    70monte Songster

    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    The one thing I did change was turning on the coop lights right before dark because one and sometimes two of the hens were not getting up on the roost before it got dark and then were sleeping either on the floor or in the nest boxes. Last night they were still running around in their run after 8:00pm.

  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I would turn off the outside coop light and the porch light, leaving only the interior coop light on. They will go towards the light.

    I've noticed that my younger birds push the bedtime hour much more than my older birds do. Right now it's pretty dark here at 6:30 PM. Last night my adult birds were in their coop and on the roost by 6 o'clock. The younger birds were still dawdling at 6:30.
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:How funny! Mine do the same thing - the Grown Ups are up on the roost long before dark, and the youngsters are still milling about as it's getting darker and darker. There's an auto-door with a light sensor on the Main Coop (where the Big Chickens sleep) and sometimes one of the Sebright cockerels will run in and out that open door almost until it closes, trying to get ONE more chance at jumping some pullet.

    The larger group of not-yet-mature youngsters also check the feeders a couple more times, chase a bug or few, run to see what somebody else has found, sit up on the back of the yard bench to look around the place, follow me to see if I have anything extra for 'em, all that youthful behavior. FINALLY they go to roost in their coops.

    And the babies in the grow out coops that aren't let out to mingle with everybody else are "up" even later. So much like little kids refusing to go to bed. At least I don't have to worry about them wandering around at dusk.....
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  10. 70monte

    70monte Songster

    Jun 5, 2009
    Aurora, MO
    The problem is that my coop light and outside coop light are operated off the same switch. They are either both on or both off. I guess I could pull the outside bulb out. I went out tonight about 8:15pm and two hens were still scratching around inside the coop. When I opened the people door to shut the lights off, they all came running and flying out of the coop.

    I guess I'm going to leave the lights off tomorrow and if they sleep on the floor, so be it.


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