Flock switched to tree roosting

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chocluver, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. chocluver

    chocluver Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    24
    Nov 7, 2015
    Hi,

    My 5 free ranging chooks have been going home to the coop every single night without issue since we got them 2 months ago. We went away for a few days and something must have happened and they decided not to go back to their coop, instead roosting in a huge tree, very high up.

    This evening, I got them on the steps of the coop, eating their seed but they just would not go in. They are fast and haven't been handled. I tried herding, but after an hour, gave up and let them go back to the tree

    Any suggestions to persuade them that the coop is home?

    Thanks!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    64,014
    9,955
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    You are very likely correct in thinking that something probably attacked them in the coop while you were away. Provide feed only in the coop so that they have to enter to eat. Once they are in the coop lock them in for a week or so until hopefully they feel secure once again. Roosting in the trees they are in danger from predators.
     
  3. chocluver

    chocluver Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    24
    Nov 7, 2015
    Do you think I should try that in the morning? They never go in the coop during the day but I have removed their seed from outside in the hope they will be pretty hungry when they wake up
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    64,014
    9,955
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    I made the assumption that you do not have a pen - that would make confining them much simpler. It may or may not work in the morning. If they are hungry enough, it very well might. Good luck.
     
  5. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey chocluver

    Just another thought .. besides a possible attack or threat while you were away, another reason chickens may be reluctant to roost in the coop at night could be mites.

    This is not a reflection on your chicken husbandry, but red mites can hide in cracks etc and come out at night to feed on the chickens. It may be worth checking that out also.

    Another possibility could be mice.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    64,014
    9,955
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Teila points out another valid possibility. I doubt that mites would keep them from entering during the day, but it is a possibility - check it out.
     
  7. chocluver

    chocluver Out Of The Brooder

    28
    2
    24
    Nov 7, 2015
    Are the mites pretty easy to see? I had a look but maybe not seeing them. It isn't unusual for them not to go in during the day, they never have. They rest during the day in the garden
     
  8. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    The mites will be difficult to see during the day as they come out at night to feed on the chickens.

    I have read that you can run a tissue or something similar across the underneath of the roost at night time and if there are mites that have recently fed, you will see the evidence on the tissue in the form of spots of blood from the squashed mites but this will probably not work in your case as the chickens have not been roosting there and the mites will not have fed.

    There is a great article in the Learning Centre on Mites & Lice:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mites-lice-treatment-and-prevention
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    64,014
    9,955
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Check the cracks, corners, crevices - if there are mites you will see them, and they will find you. Been there, done that innumerable times.
     
  10. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Yep, been there just this week myself and this time last year!

    After last November’s severe infestation [start of our wet season], I was paranoid, stripping the coop every weekend and dousing everything with a spray of diluted Neem oil when dry; lice & mite dust in the nest boxes; treated the chickens etc but even with all of that, after no problems for 12 months, they are back this November [​IMG]

    I did, however, manage to nip them in the bud using a pyrethrum based surface spray. I tried this at the recommendation of a breeder and I am by no means advising that others use it and it is simply just a suggestion on which you should make a personal choice but while the gals were out on free range, I gave the coop a good wash and then a hit with the surface spray .. that was Wednesday and the girls are fine and absolutely no signs of mites.

    I will go back to the Neem Oil for attempted prevention of an outbreak and would not use the surface spray on a regular basis but will definitely be keeping some handy, just in case.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by