Difficult Pullet

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ridinshotgun, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. ridinshotgun

    ridinshotgun In the Brooder

    Jan 7, 2013
    Middle of VA
    I have one pullet that refuses to go into the coop with the rest of the chickens at night. Instead she ends up finding a roost somewhere in the feed and tool shed which is an open air lean to.

    I have to end up going out every night and put her into the coop. I am worreid if I have to travel and be away once it warms up that she will become something's dinner.

    Anyone have any ideas on how I can break of it? I've already tried to do away with the spots she has roosted in but she always seems to find another spot to roost.

  2. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Thinkin' like a chicken might help. It is working for me on a certain level right now and has in the past with other hens that like to roost out in the snow.

    Most likely yout hen roosts outside the coop because she feels safest in the lean-to. If you make the lean-to feel unsafe, she will look for another place to roost. Theoretically. Also, making the coop feel like the safest place to roost would be helpful, too. How you do that will depend on your coop. Obviously it feels safe for most of your hens.

    One of my many examples: Currently my portable coop is right near a tree ... 12 feet away. I have two hens who want to roost up there instead of in the coop. So at roosting time, I go outside and block the hens from getting in the tree. I chase a bit with a corraling movement toward the coop. I also stand there looking as imposing as possible. When they walk toward the tree, I walk them back toward the coop. This is not something I enjoy, btw, lest you think I do this for thrills. I look them both in the eye and make it easier for them to just go ahead and go into the coop to roost for the evening. The other day, one gave me the stink eye and walked across the driveway and eyed another tree, walking around it a few times, but the lowest branches were too high. She grudgingly roosted in the coop, knocking another hen off one of the top roosts in the process. I think it took me about 4-5 days in a row to get them to go back to the coop to roost. They've been going to the coop to roost for 4 evenings now. But it has gotten colder and that could be part of it. They might be back out in the tree come spring. But for now, they have decided that the tree is not a good choice when compared with the coop.

    Edited to fix typo and to add: To be clear, though, my point is that for me, making the coop seem the most attractive roosting choice for the hen has seemed to work consistently throughout the years. Each time I run into this problem, I have to come up with a different plan of action. (Of course, ShockValue's method is the first step. But not all hens respond to that method around here.)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  3. ShockValue

    ShockValue Songster

    Jan 10, 2010
    West Sound, Washington
    I had one like that. Locked em in the coop for a few days. Fixed.

    Felt guilty punishing 4 nice birds for the behavior of the 5th.. But we haven't had a repeat occurrence, so I guess it was worth it.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    ShockValue has offered a viable solution.

    Spangled's 'think like a chicken' is a good one too.......
    ........but think, why won't she go into the coop?

    Is there plenty of space on the roost(s) for them all?
    Is she low bird?

    How old are these birds?
    Are they laying? Onset of lay can switch up the pecking order and well, just hormones flowing newly laying pullets can act pretty weird for a month or so until they get it all in the groove

  5. ridinshotgun

    ridinshotgun In the Brooder

    Jan 7, 2013
    Middle of VA
    I did that when she was relocated to coop with her siblings back in October and they were all fine and adjusted well up to a few weeks ago when this one started not being OK. She and few of her sisters all did the same thing and roosted in the shed back then. I guess I'll go back to that for a week and see if it breaks her from this.

    She has been laying for a few weeks now and she uses the coop for laying her eggs. She is about 8 months old. And there is plenty of roost space. 4 roost poles and only two of them are utilized by the chickens.
  6. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging 8 Years

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    What I would suggest is to plan on spending a bit of time tonight at roosting time in the coop to try to discover the reason why this pullet is avoiding roosting there.

    Since she's a pullet, she would naturally be among the last to enter the coop, so wait until the older chickens have gone in, then place your problem pullet just inside the coop pop hole. Then enter the coop and take up watch.

    Perhaps what you'll see is that the others are making roosting difficult for this pullet. Maybe there isn't enough room on the perch where she chooses to attempt to roost. There could be any number of problems with your coop and perch design or the flock itself. The only way to truly solve your problem is to discover the cause, then change what's needed. It's a lot simpler than trying to go at the problem by trying to discourage roosting in all the possible roosting places.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by