Chickens won't go in coop at night..

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cocotte, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Cocotte

    Cocotte Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2010
    I saw another thread on this and the response said that the chickens are being harassed by something, but I thought I'd post my info too and see if there are any other ideas.

    I've got 5 chickens, three I've had for 2 1/2 years and 2 I've had for 7 months. They had no problems with the coop or going in at night up until a couple of weeks ago when they stopped going in. Since its getting colder we've got a heat lamp that comes on at night, but the old timers have had that before, and the newer girls didn't seem to have a problem with it when it first started coming on. We put christmas lights on the coop and I thought maybe that was bugging them, but again, the old timers have experienced that before too, and we tried leaving them off and the chickens still stay outside in the dark. Its getting frosty at night, and i don't want to wake up to frozen chicken in the morning! They were perfectly content roosting in the coop all summer and fall, and now suddenly they are staying outside.

    Should I gather them up at night, shove them in and shut the door? Or will they come to their senses and go back to sleeping inside when it gets colder? Any ideas why they are doing this?
  2. Chicken Goddess

    Chicken Goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    have you checked wat is inside their coop? there could be something in there they dont like or maybe would have gotten harrassed by a rat or creature.

    Mr MKK FARMS Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    some of My chickens just did that out of a bad habit. They learned to go into the coop eventually.
    Good Luck!
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I think the light may have bothered them and now they got into the habit of sleeping outside. It would be better if they go in though. Cold aside, there is a predator risk. Lots of predators are more active at night. It's going to be a bit of a hassle, but I think you should put them in the coop and close them in there until they learn to go in there by themselves again. Hopefully you won't have to do this too many times.
  5. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Possibly the Christmas lights gave them enough light outside that they didn't realize it was time to go to bed because it wasn't getting dark outside like they were used to. Maybe? Chickens are so affected by changes in light even if they were used to it last year or previous years. Plus, one of the new girls may have enough influence (pecking order) to affect when/if/which chickens go in at night. It doesn't take much to get some chickens off kilter enough that they would start sleeping outside.

    I think I would personally treat the house for mites. (Not the chickens necessarily) And, no, I'm not saying your coop has mites because it probably doesn't. I would then move my feed and water into the chicken house and then keep my chickens in there (if the coop has a window and proper ventilation) for a few days and nights. That's how I "reset" them. Then they know again where day home and night home is. The reason I treat for mites is that I wouldn't want to shut my hens up in a coop day and night that had a bunch of mites in it.

    I would probably try to get a reptile heater or some sort of heater that didn't put off light. But then I'm one that thinks that chickens need a bunch of dark time just like people do to keep their circadian rhythm chugging away properly. Yes, chickens can "see" light through shut eyes and their skull, too. The light is sensed by the pineal gland.

    While Christmas lights are so pretty and festive, it's one thing to remove to see if they are what is troubling your chickens. But then it is only for two more weeks. I don't know.

    Please let us know what works in the end. This is quite the mystery. Best wishes.

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