Chickens staying out at night

Suebalcon

Hatching
8 Years
May 23, 2011
2
0
7
I have 5 hens I have had for some time now (they are 2-3 years old) and last week for the first time ever they did not go into their coop at night. For the last 8 nights they just bed down somewhere in their enclosure and won't go into the coop. I have to wait till they are sleepy then pick them up and put them away - though some times they try to get out again. I can't see any problems in the coop - it seems clean and disease/mite free. Any suggestions? I am in the UK so it's not too hot in there!! Thanks for any help you can give me. Sue
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
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A few thoughts. It sounds like they are sleeping on the floor in the run and not perching/roosting out there. Do you have roosts in the coop?

Has something frightened them in the coop? Rats, maybe, or some other predator. If they have been frightened, they may be afraid to go back in there.

Is it all of them? Sometimes a really aggressive hen on the roosts will make life so miserable for those lower in the pecking order that they sleep somewhere else to get away from her.

In the UK, your nights are getting noticably shorter. Is it maybe dark in the coop and light outside? Could the change in daylight hours be affecting them? Chickens sometimes will not go into a dark coop if it is still fairly light outside until the coop is so dark they cannot see inside to go to bed. So they spend the night outside.

Hope some of this helps, and again
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Suebalcon

Hatching
8 Years
May 23, 2011
2
0
7
Hi Ridgerunner and thanks for your feedback. They do usually perch in their coop, though sometimes they sleep on the floor. All the chickens are sleeping out, though some nights one or two of them go inside - am not aware of any aggression. The nights here in the UK at the moment are pretty short and it doesn't get dark till about 10 pm (my bedtime). Sometimes I am waiting up for them to go in so I can go to bed!!

I too was wondering if something had frightened them - I've seen a cat around a lot just recently, though not in the coop. Don't seem to have a problem with rats at the moment.

Sue
 

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