fear of new shavings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blueberrychickens, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. blueberrychickens

    blueberrychickens Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Hudson, MA
    So I cleaned out the coop today in preparation for the cold winter months. Out w/ all the old bedding, which was pine shavings & coffee chaff, so the color was a mixture of brown & pine(& 5 months of chicken poo!) I put in just new pine bedding to see if it was the coffee chaff that was contributing to the dustyness of the coop. While I was in the coop w/ the girls locked in their run, I also replaced the burlap that I had over the nest boxes(to make them more cozy & private) w/ some old curtains from my sons bedroom. They are just blue & white-ish. So the girls hung out all day in their run like they always do, & @ dusk their coop light goes on & they generally go in & settle down for the night. Tonight there was an 8 chicken pile up in the pop door!!! [​IMG] No one would go in to check out the shavings! At least that what I think it was, I dont think the new curtains was what was freaking them out. I tried to entice them w/ some scratch & even sat in the coop for about 20 mins to show them that the shavings werent out to get them. SOme of them did come over for the scratch, but they were in my lap the whole time. Once I left the coop, every one had managed to make it to the roost, but I'm sure no one stopped by the feeder for dinner or a drink. Has anyone ever had chickens be afraid of the new bedding?? Should I keep them in for a while in the morning so they can get used to the bedding & try to avoid another pile up tmrw night? [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. shortstaque

    shortstaque Songster

    Sep 29, 2010
    Bucks County, PA
    I would almost bet its the curtains. Mine freaked out when I tried to hang a poop hammock. I ended up taking it down because I was going away for Thanksgiving and didn't want any problems for the chicken sitter. I have used straw and dried leaves for bedding at different times and were mildly curious when it was changed but it didn't alter their behavior much. When I put in the poop hammock they were all a-twitter. Something about hanging fabric, especially colorful hanging fabric that is new, really flusters them.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    They're cute and all that, but frankly a lot of the time they're kinda dim [​IMG] Yeah, they do that sometimes, especially if this is the first time they've seen a total changeout of bedding or new nestbox hangings.

    If it were me I would manually stuff the girls into the coop for the night, in the nicest way of course [​IMG], and most likely they will be fine tomorrow once they have woken up with the redecorated version and got used to it. If they're still stupid about it tomorrow night, just stuff 'em in there again, eventually they will clue up.

    You should have seen the first time I gave my turkeys a coupla corn cobs. From their reactions you'd'a thought I tossed a lighted stick of dynamite in there. I absolutely *could not* get the turks to go into their indoor quarters with the dangerous corncobs lying in there, so I chucked the cobs out into the run (which got the turkeys indoors in a hurry!) and it was TWO DAYS before they were willing to go out into the run again. And mind you I think that turkeys are generally somewhat smarter than chickens!

    But we love them anyway [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    What Pat said. I've seen the fear of new shavings. I stick em in and tell em to build a bridge and get over it. [​IMG]
  5. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Yep! Mine did the same darn thing when I bought the fine ground version of the white pine shavings instead of the chunky stuff I usually get--same wood, just a different texture and you would have thought walking across the coop floor was like walking across hot coals. Goofy birds!
  6. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    I had the same experience with a Flock Block yesterday. We were going to be out of town for the afternoon into early evening, so I put a flock block in the coop to give them something to keep them busy. They usually go in for an afternoon chat and nap about 11 or 11:30, so I thought I'd just shut the pop-door then. I didn't have the netting up over the run yet, so I wasn't comfortable leaving them in the run while we were gone.

    They started to go in as usual, but we had a pile up, too. They were afraid to go in with the flock block. I finally stuffed them back in one at a time, and by the time we got home, a corner of the block had been pecked away, so they got over it. Man, chickens really hate change of any kind, don't they.
  7. mulewagon

    mulewagon Songster

    Nov 13, 2010
    Oh, yes, when we installed the new "big chicken" roosts, our big chickens refused to come inside the coop for days! I had to pick them all up every night, carry them inside, and put them on the roosts. Most of them decided it was okay in time. The ones that didn't, got eaten by the dog, which I hope has inceased the average intelligence level of the flock...

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by