Daytime Hang Out Spot.....


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jul 2, 2013
Sydney, Australia
HI All,

My chicks have been in the backyard now for a few weeks (they're 12 weeks old) - and they love it. It's a big yard, plenty of grass, trees, and bugs to catch but they seem to like just hanging out under our house in the dust pit that it is.

I always imagined I'd be looking out to the yard to see them scratching away but no, they don't come out much unless I go down there to play with them.

Will they just gradually start exploring the yard or do I need to coerce them out and fence off under the house - I don't think it's much fun for them under there.

Thanks in advance !
My chickens and ducks hang out under our deck most of the day ( it's a giant dirt pit also) the only time they come out is if I'm out there, it starts raining or it's later in the evening when it gets cooler. They are prob down there cause its a lot cooler.

Such locations are sought as protection from weather extremes and predators. They go out of their way to avoid temperature extremes and wind. They are also concerned about being out of site of predators yet is a position where they can see the same predators as they approach. The dust bathing opportunities are likely incidental.
Mine go up to the horse paddock in the morning and peck n scratch like crazy. By late morning though, they are next to the house in the shade of the sage shrubs hanging out by their wading pool. They stay there most of the day because this is Texas and it's just miserably hot still. By late afternoon/early evening they come out and forage in the front yard and back yard areas and then go back up to the horses while I'm doing feeding. Then they follow me back down and do their dust bathing about an hour before they head to the coop for bed. As they get a bit older and the weather gets cooler, you'll see them in the yard more.
Mine have a routine that they follow from being released in the morning. Most go to the elderberry bush for a bit, the rest go to the dog's water bucket for a drink. They peck around near the shop for a bit, then go sit under the loropetalum, take a dust bath, and relax.

Next, they go to the bedded area around the garden, scratching and pecking, then retire to the cover provided by the magnolia tree. After a while, they cruise the ground under the apple tree, scratch through the mulch in the adjacent bed, then go hang out in the flower bed along the side of the house.

Later in the day, they migrate over to the large open area near the coop, eating whatever they find in the grass and the adjacent flower beds. Next they move over to the loropetalum, and chill with more resting and bathing in the dust.

From time to time one or more will go to the coop to lay and eat, then head back to the others.

Although they spend a lot of time out in the open feeding, they are also under the various trees and bushes that afford them shade, dust, and protection from overhead predators,.

Because they are still growing chicks and pullets spend a lot of time resting. Our older hens like to rest and dust too but they spend lots more of their day foraging and scratching then the younger ones.

And about going under the house...most pullets lay outside the nest box for a time, especially if you don't have any older hens to show them where to lay, so if it's a space you can't get into so they don't start laying where you can't get to the eggs.
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Yes, I had thought of that too re the egg laying. I'm soon to put a nesting box in their bedroom area of the coop.... and a couple of the pretend eggs as a guide, so hopefully this will encourage them to lay their eggs where I can actually reach them!

I hope they get more confident in our yard, it's perfect for chicken fun, don't like to think they won't be taking advantage of all the garden has to offer and just hide out in the dark.

Thanks all for your responses!

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