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Do you provide outside shelter/hiding spots for your chickens? How?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by appps, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    My chickens seem to be very nervous. They spend very little time actually wandering around their run. They will go to the far end where I have an old coffee table and a chair that they roost on or they huddle under the table or they sit in their house. They dont however spent their days "grazing" like our old ones did.

    I also have one silkie which seems to be even more nervous and will spend half its time alone in the house standing on a log looking out at the others.


    When they go from their spot at the far end to their house it tends to be done at full pelt or in a flap of wings.

    This has led me to wonder if perhaps Bantams are more shelter/keep hidden orientated that the larger breeds? and if I should be putting more things in there for them to hide under? I will probably plant some sort of tree I guess in the middle but that will take time to grow, in the meantime is there some cheap easy ideas for shelters to make them feel a bit safer?

    Mind you when they are roosting on the chair they are out in full sight though under bird netting??
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. Hawgon

    Hawgon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2011
    Vancouver, WA
    How long have you had them?
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    Since they were about 3 weeks old and they are now 5 months.
  4. maryhysong

    maryhysong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2012
    Claypool, Arizona
    This avoiding open spaces, especially at certain times of the day is actually excellent predator protection. The birds know when hawks and such might be around and avoid open areas at those times of day. I prop scraps of plywood up on cinder blocks or milk crates as hawk hides, which also double as shady spots in the summer.
  5. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    Thanks. That sounds like a nice and cheap solution. I might do a run out to the recycling tip and see if I can pick up some cheap blocks or such.

    I wonder if we have a hawk about. I did see something with that bird of prey look to its wings soaring around the other day. Maybe it's around more than I'd realised.
  6. fisherlady

    fisherlady Overrun With Chickens

    We used an old sawhorse and a 10 ft section of scrap metal roofing in one section of the yard. Just propped one end up on the sawhorse and provided a 'lean too' shelter... they use it a lot during the day, another favorite haunt is under a large boat (on a trailer) that we have in another open area of the yard. It doesn't need to be complicated at all to make them happy.
    If there is a hawk/bird of prey in the area the flock heads to an area of the yard with tree cover or other cover nearby for a while, even after it's gone. Our Roos being close by
    seems to help the hens seem more relaxed also.
  7. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    Our chickens also tend to move from one sheltered place to another. We DID have a fox attack last May and have had a hawk or hawks hanging around since fall came. There are a few shrubs in the chicken yard for them to hide under but we also put an aluminum truck topper in there for them too. The topper is big enough all 14 birds (large frame Buff Brahmas) can shelter in it plus it makes a good loafing area during rain/snowy weather.

    Other good cover shelters can be made from "throw-away" wooden pallets. Fasten two of those together in a pup-tent shape,lean one against a barn wall,set one on concrete blocks.....you get the picture.

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