Chickens stopped going in the coop - UPDATE

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TipsyDog, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    My girls have always put themselves to bed every night at dusk. There is a light in the coop and they always went in without fail. I have an automatic door opener/closer which closes at dusk. Never had a problem.

    Suddenly, about 2 weeks ago, the girls don't make it into the coop. I thought the door may be closing too early so I adjusted it to stay open longer. Tonight I watched them and several went into the coop. Three others stayed outside and started to settle down for the night outside on the ladder. I thought the door was closing too early, but they seem to be roosting outside on purpose.

    Why would they suddenly change their behavior? These are girls at the upper end of the pecking order. I've been going outside every night for a couple of weeks now and putting them in the coop after dusk. I'm concerned that if I'm not home one evening, they'll be in danger by not going into the coop. They free-range all day so the run door is always open.

    Does anyone know why they would do this? I was going to purchase a timer for the door closer so I can leave it open even longer, but they settle down outside even when the coop door is still open.

    Edited for spelling
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My guess is that something spooked them. Either one of them came close to getting stuck when the door was closing or ??
    You may have to put them in the coop every night for a few days until they forget about whatever it was that spooked them. I would remove the ladder or anything else that they are using to roost on outside too.
    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

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    do you have mites in the coop, they hide in cracks and crevices around the roosts, and only come out after dark and bite your birds, if you have an infestation you birds will not want to go inside
     
  4. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    No mites, no bugs, no rodents, no snakes. My coop is 5 months old and newly built. I keep it very clean and go in everyday to scrape the poop board and make sure all is well.

    I don't think they got spooked by the door or something. The door is extremely sensitive. I have put my hand there to see and it barely touches and goes back up. I don't think the chicken would really notice the door on them - it's that sensitive.

    If I remove their ladder they will roost outside on top of the run or coop. I'm starting to think they feel completely secure here and have never been "hunted" so I'm not sure they even realize they are in danger. Also, it's been warmer than usual. I don't have a Roo, if that matters?

    It's very frustrating to pay a couple hundred bucks for an automatic door closer to keep them safe if I don't make it home in time and these chickens stop going in! [​IMG]
     
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:I know how frustrating it can be. [​IMG] I don't know for sure that having a roo helps, but I do know that my roo is always last in the coop in the evenings. He even makes a final pass around the coop to make sure all the hens are inside before he goes in.
    I still think you might have to manually put them in the coop for several days in a row to retrain their little brains.
     
  6. DonnaBelle

    DonnaBelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, the roo makes a difference. The gals need someone to go in last, at my place, it's the big roo.

    A friend of mine lost her roo, and the hens started roosting in the trees at night. You need a roo to run the roost.

    DonnaBelle
     
  7. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    Quote:Unfortunately for me (and the girls) no roo allowed here per DH. He works late shift and sleeps in so he won't allow a roo [​IMG] However, I'd rather have a working, happy husband then a roo [​IMG] That was part of the deal when I wanted to get chickens in the first place so I have to abide by his wishes. [​IMG]
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Unfortunately for me (and the girls) no roo allowed here per DH. He works late shift and sleeps in so he won't allow a roo [​IMG] However, I'd rather have a working, happy husband then a roo [​IMG] That was part of the deal when I wanted to get chickens in the first place so I have to abide by his wishes. [​IMG]

    My DH is a day sleeper too and the roo crowing doesn't bother him. He grew up around chickens though, so maybe that's why he doesn't notice it.
     
  9. DonnaBelle

    DonnaBelle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, it sounds like to me you are going to have to close the chickens up at night, if you have to put them up early do so, it's better than running the risk of something getting them. Do you have someone who can close them up in an emergency?? Just keep putting them in at night yourself, maybe they'll catch on. I understand about husbands, got one myself.

    DonnaBelle
     
  10. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    I have been manually putting them into the coop for over a week now.

    I'm thinking if they pull this again I should just close the run door and leave them out on the ladder. The temps are supposed to drop to 32*. Maybe a couple of nights outside will get those fluff butts back inside??
     

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