For those who lock up their birds EVERY NIGHT:

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ThePolishPrincess, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was thinking about this as I got my flashlight and went out to lock the doors last evening. I have, in the past, done head-counts to make sure that everyone is home safely, as I do partial free-range. I've ran into a few occurances, rare ones, where not everyone was where they should be. Found a rooster in the rafters once, had the Sultan hen try to go camping in the woods a few times...even found a few girls roosting ON the goats. [​IMG] But lately, birds have been moved around and it's hard to remember just how many I have and where. Some are supposed to be with the goats, others are sectioned off or are in quarantine, etc. So I've been neglecting my usual head-counts (Bad mommy, bad mommy... [​IMG] ) I only look for the nut-jobs that tend to be forgetful when it comes to returning to the coop.

    Anyone run into a situation where they find out the next day that they forgot someone? Or someone just didn't feel like coming back that night? Or anything of the like? Would be interested to hear...
  2. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    Nope, mine only free range when I'm home & head counts are always done, no matter if I get home long after dark or I'm there when they head in to roost.
  3. caveman

    caveman Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 26, 2010
    I live in Hawaii where there is an abundance of wild chickens. Most of the time all my girls come home at night, however occasionally a wild roo will lead one of them off to his roost at night. It must not be very cozy because they never stay long and are usually back home the very next morning.
  4. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    I do all the time. Thankfully its usually caught pretty quick. I close everyone up and then walk around to check the horses and there is a prodigal hen. Thankfully they always go to the same place no matter which hen is doing it.
  5. Staceyfeindt

    Staceyfeindt Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2009
    Yep , we have had one missing at head count time and finally found her perched on our back porch. This became a regular thing for I found her a new home. She's happy now and so am I !

    And we have had a time where the head count wasn't carried out and one was left out side. She was trying to get inside the next morning. No harm done to her. She must have roosted in a tree.
  6. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY

    I have

    I left out four full grown hens once - my hens usually are very good about going in, but one night I had to get them in a hurry
    They were roosting on the picnic table all night

    One time, I closed the pop door too soon and left out two chicks.

    I have to honestly say I have never lost any to being left out in error all night. I have lost them during the day while I was watching
    How weird is that
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have, a few coops - we will go with the number "few" [​IMG]

    One morning, I let the "shed coop" chickens out, as they filed by me and out I noticed I was "missing" my Ameraucana cockerel Flrpl. Heart starts pounding. I run around looking and there he is - so I must have just missed him walking by me. That night I do a head count and Flrpl is missing - count again and then look by color - yup still missing. Search commences. He was roosting around the corner of the coop on a chair [​IMG] Must have been his second night as there was a bit of a pile behind him. [​IMG]

    Then a couple weeks ago it snowed. Upon lock-up of the main coop, I notice I am missing 5 pullets. I find them under my hay shed - they refused to go back to the coop until I had shoveled a path for them. They would NOT walk in the snow at dusk. Silly girls.

    My BR girl disappeared right after the Qtime was over. She had been in her yard at 4 and when I went out at 4:30 to lock her up she was gone. I looked for hours, literally and finally had to get a flash light - to search for feathers or a body. I was SURE she was dead. I finally found her - roosting on my 4wheeler, between the handle bars and the front pack. [​IMG]
  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Never missed one in the head counts. I have a few that have tried to roost elsewhere at night, but I go out and find them before the night is through. I have too many predators to miss one at night. I leave one out and it wouldn't come back. It would be someone's dinner.

    I only ever had one bird miss the night in the coop. I thought (and had pretty convincing evidence) that the bird was killed after an attack. She showed up the next morning and was ripped apart from the attack. I still am not sure how she survived the night outside, to say nothing of surviving the attack.
  9. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I have one group that gets locked up, I started doing a head count on them when I went out one morning to find a d'uccle pullet (who should have been in the coop) wandering around with the free rangers. So now I count them all before locking up. Usually she's perched on a feed barrel inside the building if she does go AWOL, sometimes she brings a friend. She hasn't done it for quite a while now, but I still count them.

    The rest of the birds are either locked up all the time or not at all, too hard to count all the full-timers. [​IMG]
  10. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2010
    We used to do a head count at night but years later we have too many. If they don't get tucked in and locked up before night fall.
    It is a fair bet that the predators will find them.

    Just my .02

    Good Luck

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by