Darker earlier...girls aren't finding the roosts before dark

KimPahl

Chirping
Aug 5, 2015
67
0
54
Jefferson, NC
So, we've had our girls since August and all has been well they've had no problem heading into the coop at dusk. However now my 2 red sex links tend to stay out quite a bit later than my leghorn.

The other night one of them was actually laying an egg at 5:30 p.m. It was dark! I turned the light on to check on them and close them up and noticed she was laying an egg then when she was finished of course it was pitch dark in there and she couldn't find her way to the roost. I turned the light back on and picked her up and put her up there.

Now tonight I went in and it was dark already and one of them was laying underneath the roost with the other two on top of the roost. Again I picked her up and put her up there. I think that they are not seeing because it's getting darker earlier and they are unable to find their way to the roost because they're staying out so late. Is this normal?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Love Autumn
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Jul 16, 2015
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It is normal for young birds to do goofy thing and to stay out too long, you could put a nightlight out there for a bit, it should be enough light to get done what they need to by bedtime, otherwise most grow out of it as they mature.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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I too have had the younger crowd stay out later...do you have good west windows for light in the coop, that can help.
 

KimPahl

Chirping
Aug 5, 2015
67
0
54
Jefferson, NC
Hey guys,

Yes, there's a window in their coop actually (it's in a stall in our barn). I was leaving it open all summer and into late fall, however, with the cold nights now I started closing it and leaving it closed during the day to keep the coop warmer. We have another window across from the coop that I'm leaving open for ventilation.

Your ideas were exactly what I was thinking. Either open the coop window back up or put in a night light. I think I'm going to do the night light and just shut it off when I got down for lock them in for the night.

Last night one did it again. She was on the roost then decided to start eating when I turned the light on to check on them. Of course, when I shut the light off she started freaking out and I heard attempts at trying to find the roost in the dark. When I turned the light back on she was still on the floor. Once she could see, she hopped up for the night.

It's kind of silly...I even saw one wondering around outside quite late...the others were inside already and she was acting upset like she couldn't see the coop door. Silly. Finally she went inside. Kind of like a kid that doesn't want to go in! LOL!
 

Folly's place

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Sep 13, 2011
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I would have both windows open for ventilation if possible; it's not cold, but humidity that is the problem. Hopefully your pullet will figure it out soon. Is she being harassed and staying out for that reason? Mary
 

KimPahl

Chirping
Aug 5, 2015
67
0
54
Jefferson, NC
The window in the coop is 3 x 3 and is only slightly higher than the roosts. It's also too large to leave open without them getting drafts on them now that it's getting colder -- especially in the winter -- it's very windy here in the mountains. I'm considering cutting the window so there's a permanent 6" opening at the top and the rest can be closed. This will give them ventilation from this window but should prevent drafts. I will also keep the other window across from the coop open.

The coop walls are open w/ chicken wire on them which also helps with ventilation although now for the winter we have plastic on two of the walls. The full size door is uncovered which is where the other window vents into the coop. We only have 3 gals. The coop is very dry (it's in a cement foundation barn) and I do monitor it for humidity which seems to be just fine. The only time it's ever been even remotely "stuffy" in there was at the beginning of summer and we removed the plastic and kept all the windows open all summer although summers here are not hot at all.

I don't believe she's being harassed. They've all grown up together since summer and nothing has changed the pecking order. The two reds stay together most of the time and the leghorn goes on about her own business (she's the boss). I think they are just still young and figuring things out. They are still under 1 year.

Thanks for the advice. Really appreciate all your thoughts.
 
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KimPahl

Chirping
Aug 5, 2015
67
0
54
Jefferson, NC

Before we added additional hardware cloth to the window


Before the sand & hay for winter

No the barn windows have hardware cloth on them, so no glass but the light does come thru certainly when the window is open. The window closure is similar to door. When it's closed it's like closing a door....no light.

 
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KimPahl

Chirping
Aug 5, 2015
67
0
54
Jefferson, NC
That's actually a great idea! That way we can remove it for summer and still leave the "window" open during winter but the plexiglass will keep drafts off of them. Thanks for the idea!
 

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