Free Range Silver Seabrights Sleep in tree... WINTER???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by willischick, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. willischick

    willischick Hatching

    Jun 8, 2009
    Somewhere, TN
    We have 2 Silver Seabright Bantams. A hen and rooster- they are two big pets!!
    They are free range (ion our 1/2 acre lot, ha ha) and hang out in our backyard. They sunbathe on the driveway, and go to the "spa" in my flower gardens.

    They do have a coop (old rabbit cage) that we leave their feed in. They go in it from time to time to snack, and the hen lays her eggs at some point in time (in the coop, there is a box with hay in it). (Def not broody/ or a good mom) I dont think she cares at all that she laid an egg!!
    Anyway- here is my question. Its our first winter here in TN with our chickens. They roost every night in our big oak tree in the back yard. Same spot every time. They both fly up there and come down in the morning.
    So what in the world are we going to do in the winter??
    They have rode out some good summer storms and rain in the tree, but i dont know if they are going to freeze their tails off out in a leafless tree in the middle of winter!!
    I dont know what to do. Should I build some kind of Treehouse, or tree box? But i dont think they would go in it! I dont want to "catch" them everynight before dusk, and put them in thier coop for the night. But i dont know what to do with the weather comming, and the leaves going away. We do have hawks and things..... hmmm.... any suggestions would be appreciated!

    ps here is Elvis and Priscilla
  2. JakRat

    JakRat Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    wow they are beautiful!!!! Mine all go back to the coop at night... when they were little I had to train them to go in there, so if someone writes back that you should coop them for the winter you just gotta get them in there at night... safflower seeds are a good way to trick them in, and then they will do it on there own so that they get their treats [​IMG]
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Catch them and lock them in the coop for at least a week; maybe two. That may sound harsh, but you need to re-program their itty bitty brains to using the coop.
    Trees also house predators, coons and possums, to name a few. They are much safer in a predator-proof coop at night. You just need to convince them of that.
  4. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Yes, lock them in a predator proof coop at night or a racoon or owl will kill them for sure during the Winter. I know...mine used to roost in a huge tree and I thought they were safe way up there, only to lose about 20 of them to racoons! [​IMG]

    Had to retrain mine by leaving them inside the hen house for a week... day and night... and feeding them inside. Now they go in it automatically at dusk.

    They are too nice to die a horrible death and their colors make them perfect targets. Don't leave them out at night!

    I am in Tn. also.
  5. DragonFeathers

    DragonFeathers Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    I agree, lock them up for a week or two!
  6. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Of course that's if you had a coop... They may be roosting in the tree because the rabbit hutch is not a suitable "coop" for them. It would depend on the size, how much enclosed space it has, and of course chickens want to roost not sit on the floor. The wire on rabbit hutches also frequently gets torn off by predators and whatever is in the hutch turns into some critters dinner. Try looking up chicken tractors and building one of the small coops connected to those. Some of them are very simple. The triangle ones especially since it doesn't take much to make a triangle out of 2x4s and slap plywood on it. It would be much safer and more suitable for them.

    Hens do not care about the eggs they lay unless they go broody. They don't go broody all the time or with every egg. Lots of eggs go to waste if something or someone doesn't eat them. Some breeds never go broody. When they do go broody they still don't care whether they laid an egg or not but will collect any eggs in the area to sit on. Some will try to hatch golfballs. Chickens have no attachment to their eggs. That doesn't make them bad mothers. Even the best broodies don't care about eggs in between being broody.
  7. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    Yep, catch them and put them in their coop/hutch. Leave them there for at LEAST a week, probably more like 2 to reprogram them.

    I have a little silver sebright hen that is identical to Priscilla, she is so sweet! My bantams all go to the trees at night right now, but it gets COLD here and I'm going to have to coop them for a while [​IMG] They won't be happy about it, but it's better than being a popsicle or some animal's supper.
  8. willischick

    willischick Hatching

    Jun 8, 2009
    Somewhere, TN
    Wow, thank you so much.
    Guess they wont like being locked up, BUT i dont want them dead either. My husband built the cage for me a long time ago, and it has housed many animals [​IMG] (from rabbits, to ducks, to a coon!! (and his father's beagle hound puppies) Its about 8 foot long, 3 ft high with a tin roof. 1/2 of the floor is plywood, and other is chicken wire. It stands about 3-4 feet off ground. They do have 2 roost/sticks in there that they loved when they were babies.
    Does it need to be enclosed?? Its up against a shed on one side and our garage on the other. 8 foot across starts our privacy fence. . So even though it does not have walls, its closed on 2 sides (also where the wind comes from)
    Do they need a heat lamp in the winter? There is one in there from where i kept them in early spring....

    Thanks every one!! onward to "reprogramming" my little chicken brains!
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Since they are small birds, at the very least I would cover the open sides of their hutch with heavy duty plastic like you would use to cover house windows for wintertime. A heat lamp may also be necessary since it's only the two of them. I suspect a bad winter is coming on, so the sooner you can get them used to being in a coop, the better.
    You can alleviate some of their boredom in the coop while they are in lockdown by tossing scratch on the ground/litter, hanging a cabbage head or a suet block for them to peck at. Basically anything to get their minds off the fact that they are confined.
  10. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    I doubt you need a heat lamp, and it sounds like there wouldn't be room for one anyway. You probably should make sure part of it is very well sheltered/wrapped/enclosed on the one end I'd guess on 3 sides (and top and bottom) ... if they're that used to being out in all weather,,, in Tennesee, I would think that they should be ok for the most part. Hopefully some other people who know the conditions in your area will chime in.

    completely enclosed may not be necessary unless you get temps below freezing and or heavy winds/weather etc. Then it's important.... sorry I'm not being as much help as I'd like, just trying to guage what your weather is like.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: