Girls won't get in hen house at night

Ren127

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 9, 2012
10
0
22
I have a black australorp 13 weeks old, a polish about 15 weeks old, and an ameraucana/ee that's about 16 weeks old. They have been outside in their coop for 5 weeks now- it's the garden ark coop. At first I left them locked "upstairs" in the hen house for the first 5 days then started letting them go downstairs during the day-

For the first 3 weeks they were piling in the corner on the grass to go to sleep and I was going in and picking them up and putting them in the hen house each night. Then one night two weeks ago the australorp and the polish were in the hen house and the ameraucana was on the ground- picked her up and put her upstairs. Since then every night all three are on the bar that they use to get into the hen house and I have to go out and coax them into the hen house. (See a picture- there's no ladder they jump on the bar then into the house) Always in the same order - polish then australorp then ameraucana. As soon as I pick up the polish the other two follow her right in. But as soon as they're in they act like they want back out and take a few minutes before they settle down.

I change out their aspen shavings regularly, I haven't seen any signs of mites, they have a low roost bar in the hen house but they don't seem to like it very much and often sleep on the shavings and there are never piles of poop in the morning so I have a feeling they're moving about at night. I have a big fence around my yard and have seen no signs of any predators. Right now they only have food and water downstairs - could that have anything to do with it?. I've tried putting treats up in the hen house and they will go in, eat the treats, and go back out to the bar- unfortunately not while I'm watching.

I keep a bit of a chaotic schedule and would really like to put in an automatic door, but right now I can't seem to get them to go to bed- please help!!!!

Thanks,
Lauren
 

fried green eggs

Songster
8 Years
Mar 25, 2011
1,905
78
181
S.E. Michigan
What is your roost bar? Many people find that their chickens like a flat 2x4. I know my chickens will choose a flat 2x4 over a round pole. Does Aspen smell? You could try Play Sand or Pine Shavings in the coop. Play Sand is really easy to clean, last much longer than shavings and it helps dry poop.
 

Northwind

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 3, 2012
415
0
91
Yorkshire
I agree, it might be the roost they're not liking, however it might also be the height - my chickens have never really liked low roosts, they prefer ones they have to fly up to. Howevere, every flock is different.
 

Ren127

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 9, 2012
10
0
22
The roost is a 2x2 sanded on the corners- the same as the "bar" they are roosting on outside that they should be using to get in and out- the height might be the issue- it's only 4 inches off of the ground at the top and two inches off of the ground at the bottom (piece of the 2x2 cut and put under as feet) - it kinda ends up sitting right on top of the shavings- I'll try raising it.

The aspen shavings are completely odorless and were recommended by my avian vet. I will try replacing them with sand next time I clean the hen house out.

Thanks- I'll try anything at this point- it's killing me!!

Lauren
 

fried green eggs

Songster
8 Years
Mar 25, 2011
1,905
78
181
S.E. Michigan
I bet it is - they want to feel higher off the floor. Don't you love how they let us know they aren't happy with things.lol We don't get Aspen shavings where I live. Pine is the norm. here. If it gets cold where you live ? 2x4's flat allow them to sit on toes and keep them warm in winter. For the sand - I put DE on coop floor and then add 3"-4" of sand and add a little more DE on top of the sand. It's heavy but works great. Good Luck
 

Ren127

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 9, 2012
10
0
22
I'm going to work on a new roost for the coop today-

As far as getting cold- definitely don't have that problem. I'm in New Orleans where it is in the 90s already. I'll try the sand as well - hopefully doesn't make the ark too heavy to move!

Thanks,
Lauren
 

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