coop lingering issue

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marcoseitz, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. marcoseitz

    marcoseitz New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2015
    Northeast Oklahoma
    I have a flock that has been lingering around the coop too much and not foraging like they should. I've thought about locking them out during daytime but all my hens lay during midday and I don't want to have to hunt eggs down. I have been putting water out for them and have tried scattering some feed when I first let them out thinking it would get them "jump started" so to speak. They literally hang out inside for most of the day.My two part question i guess is; If I lock them out will they hold off on laying until nightime or will they just lay all over my property and are there any other tips or tricks I can use to encourage them to stay out and forage? their lack of foraging is causing me to go through way more feed than I like and any advice would be great.....
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    How old are these birds and how long have they been allowed to range?
     
  3. marcoseitz

    marcoseitz New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2015
    Northeast Oklahoma
    half are 8 months and half are 10 months old. The 8 month olds came from a local free range flock. I bought them at 6 months of age (barred rocks). The 10 month olds (dark cornish) were bought from McMurray and pen raised until I bought them at 8 months old. I have given them free range access since I brought them home 2 months ago short of the first three days of coop training.Coop has a light on a timer and I give them their pellets every night around 830 and lock them in. They are well trained in that regard and they will come up to us if we step out of the house or stay outside (have even followed us into the house before) but otherwise they just hang around inside the coop 75% of the time.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Hmmm, strange that previously free ranged birds would not forage on their new property after 2 months...maybe there's nothing good for them to eat there?
    Maybe there are predators out there that you are unaware of and they are staying close to home because of it?

    I would not lock them out of the coop, but I might reduce the amount of feed they get...
    ....IF.....
    you live in a place where there is alot for them to eat outside.

    What is your climate?...putting your location in your profile can help folks give you better answers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  5. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like they may have encountered a predator that has left them nervous. Does their forage area have foliage cover, or is it wide open?
     
  6. marcoseitz

    marcoseitz New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2015
    Northeast Oklahoma
    I live in northeast oklahoma. there are a fair amount of hawks in my area, however none of my flock have been taken. could it be some sort of predator freight?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    It could be there staying close so as to have cover from hawks, yes.

    What kind of forage area do you have?.......is it wide open, is it wooded, is there anything growing this time of year for them to forage on?
     
  8. marcoseitz

    marcoseitz New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2015
    Northeast Oklahoma
    There is what my son calls a little "jungle" probably 10 to 15 trees clumped together, but it is on the opposite of the barn as their coop.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Can you give them some cover near their coop? It could be as simple as a pallet or two set up on cinder blocks. Make it enticing, by spreading some hay under it (if there's not ample grass/weeds) and then tossing some scratch under it. Give them a couple of shelter spots outside the coop, and you may find them becoming more adventurous.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. marcoseitz

    marcoseitz New Egg

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    Mar 31, 2015
    Northeast Oklahoma
    It is mostly pasture. and the clovers, grass, weeds, and flowers are very plentiful and growing quick. Already had to mow the lawn around my house once, and that was after it got tall enough that I really couldn't justify further delay. I have previously tried to lead them to a small wooded area on the backside of the barn but they don't seem to like to venture that far. my main outlay obstacle is that the barn is a cinder block 8 stall horse barn and the back stalls, which are on the wooded side, do not lead outside. I guess maybe I need to find a way to get them some cover on the front end of the barn........ would reducing their feed a little have a good chance of increasing their will to forage and what should I keep an eye out for to ensure that I am not depriving them of too much feed?
     

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