Having trouble with my 5 week old chickens come night fall, please help! New mommy over here!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chem, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    Hello
    I am a first time chicken mommy and I love it! I bought 5 babies when they were 2 days old. They are now 5 weeks old. When I bought them I was told all were girls. I got 2 rhode islands, 1 bardrock and 2 bantams (sorry if my spelling is off). Now I have done as much homework as possible to prepare myself for chickenhood but I find I am running into some issues I cannot find answers to! I can tell my 2 reds and 1 bard are female. I can also tell my tiny runt of a bantam is female... BUT my other bantam is confusing me. I am not sure if he (I say "he" since I am almost convinced its a boy) is a roo. He has a comb that is getting darker but no spurs? He chest bumps the others at times and he is obsessed with the big bard female. He will follow her around and if he looses sight of her, or any of the other chickens for that matter, he screams bloody murder! He does that "OMG HELP" peeps really loud until he can find her or the other chickens. For the past week I have taken them all outside during the day. They seem to love the coop I have built for them. They are well protected from predators and have a blast playing in the dirt and pecking at the ground for hours. So what I have done is I will take them out of the brooder in the morning and they stay in their coop all day til evening. Given that almost all of their feathers are in I thought maybe they would be happier living in the coop full time. Their brooder is getting smaller and they do not seem to enjoy being cooped up in there all day and night. But as soon as the sun goes down and it starts to get dark all 5 of them huddle near the coop door and scream bloody murder til I go and scoop them up and bring them back inside the house. Its as if they are afraid of the dark. I stopped using the brooder heat at night a few days ago. They seem to be just fine and not cold nor afraid of the dark while inside the house. I live on the Space Coast here in Florida so the weather is perfect for them right now. I do not understand why they scream when the sun goes down to come back inside? They love it out there during the day?! When I built their coop I even made 4 different perches for them to chill on and play on. They have 2 large houses that connect for them to sleep in if they wanted to. I catch them all utilizing the houses during the day off and on. What am I doing wrong at night for them not to want to be outside? And trust me when I tell you they are all like scared little children if I do not go out there and fetch them come sunset. I took a few pictures of the coop for you all to see. If you see anything wrong or if you see that I need to add anything that would make them happier please let me know. I also took a few pics of my mystery bantams. I am hoping someone can identify not only the breeds but also if the one that looks like a seabrite is really a girl or a boy. I am trying so hard to be a good chicken mommy and I want them to be happy. They are so happy to be outside in their coop all day long with plenty of food/water and tons of shade if need be. What am I doing wrong at night? Why do they want to come back inside with me and get stuck in the small brooder? Thank you all for listening and any advice is very welcomed :)

    This is a couple shots of the coop I built.
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    here are my chickens :)
    this is a picture of my runt bantam girl. can anyone identify the breed? she is very sweet and loves to be held!
    [​IMG]

    this is a couple of picture of my other bantam (he loves to be with the bard all the time). the one I think might be a roo but I cannot tell. no spurs but a darkening comb? i cannot figure out the breed as well. any info would be much appreciated :)
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    here is a picture of my twin reds :) i call them big red 1 and big red 2! they are so cool and love to be together as well

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Melinda35

    Melinda35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you have done everything right as a chicky mommy. In my opinion, they are scared because they see the brooder as home and it is a natural instinct to go home at night to roost. I would put them inside the coop, not the run, for several days so that they can learn that that is their home now. If you cannot keep them locked up during the day then every night I would put them in the coop on the roost when it is time to go to bed. They will learn in no time that that is what they are supposed to do and one night you will go out there and find they went in on their own.

    As for boy or girl or what breed, sorry no help there! They are very cute though.
     
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    My Coop
    The one that you think may be a male looks like it may well be a seabright (and it doesn't seem to carry itself or show any physical indicators of male, so far as can be told from the photo). I'm not terribly familiar with the breed myself, but did find these thread about sexing them: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/548713/silver-sebright-sexing https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/534516/sexing-sebrights

    Anyway, none of the behavior you mentioned indicates a roo. We had five hens and they all behaved like then when in situations like you've described. Chicks HATE being all alone and tend to go nuts and make a huge ruckus when they find themselves isolated. Also, they tend to resist change, so any sudden new setting will tend to send them over the edge, too. Instead of bringing them in when they scream at night, leave them for awhile. They'll settle and quiet down after a bit (15-20 minutes), and if they don't, it may be temperature related (too cold....though they appear to be pretty well feathered and that shouldn't be an issue unless it's getting very cold in your area at night).
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  4. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    My Coop
    As an after-thought, having looked at your photos a bit more...

    You really should invest and install hardware cloth (with less than 1 inch holes) over your chicken wire. There are numerous predators (raccoons, for starters) that can chew through chicken wire. Also, I see your HVAC air compressor is right beside the run. While this, in itself, is not an issue, if your chicks aren't used to it the noise it makes may be freaking them out a bit. They will get used to it if left in its vicinity for a few days.
     
  5. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    melinda, thank you for your advice! i didnt think to keep them just in the coop without access to the run part. i really want them to adjust and be happy. i almost went into panic attack mode when they first started screaming at the coop door to come back inside. usually only the little bantam screams but when they all started gathering in a pile by the door screaming for me to pick them up i got so nervous! lol
    i know my chickens are very smart, i just dont want them freaking out at night. hearing them scream for me sends me running no matter where i am (inside the house or in the garden). i just hope they will catch on fast :)

    reddragon, i thought it might be a seabright as well from the research i have done. i was really puzzled however since i was told when i bought them that they came from the same litter of chickens. both my bantams look totally different! im starting to think the people i purchased them from didnt know what they were talking about. im feeling a little better hearing your opinion on the sex of the chicken. i am praying the little bugger is a female since a male would probably annoy my neighbors. they know i have chickens and are perfectly fine with it, just having one that would be loud might cause an issue or two. i am also glad to hear of other chicks freaking out and being loud if they are alone. i thought mine might have anxiety issues and i honestly thought if i separated them it would cause the little one to have a panic attack or something. i have observed this little ones behavior and noticed it is in love with the barred rock. it is always up her butt and if it looses sight of her it freaks. i just dont want the little one to get so nervous and have a real panic attack! maybe with age the need to be near the barred rock wont be as severe lol
    you mentioned that you thought they looked pretty well feathered. i thought so too. its around the low 80's during the day here and at night it gets to be around the mid to low 60's. it will only get warmer as the days pass however. i figured since they no longer have the lamp on at night and dont seem to get cold than being outdoors at night should be fine for them. do you think these temperatures are alight for overnight? tonight i will try to put them in their coop part and see how that goes. but if i lock them in the coop part to where they cant get into the run where there food and water is stored is that a bad idea? im nervous about letting them scream for 15 minutes lol i swear it was so hard for me to hear them scream at night for me lol i had to rush in and scoop them up real fast. at the same time i want them to be happy and get adjusted. i think i need more training than they do lol maybe i am just being a nervous over-reacting mother? lol

    thank you both so much for your help! :D
     
  6. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    oh, and the chicken wire!!!

    im on top of that now that you mentioned it! i did not know coons could chew through the wire. i will protect my babies as best as i can and i will get that wire you talked about :)

    thank you!
     
  7. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    My Coop
    I agree, you're two banties look nothing alike. I'd be surprised if they were from the same clutch. However, odd things do happen sometimes, and I know I read somewhere that seabrights can be difficult to breed; so maybe they really are sibs and one just didn't get genetics all in order. [​IMG]

    Chickens are committed flock animals. They really don't do well alone no matter what their age is. If one of ours gets out of eyesight of the rest of the flock (which isn't terribly uncommon), they'll start bagokking and pacing all over the yard until they find everyone else. They're just calling out for their flockmates so that they can find them. Safety in numbers and all!

    At five weeks and with true feathers like that, I would think they should be alright in the 60s. If it gets significantly colder than that, it may be an issue, but that would be doubtful this time of year. By the fall when temps start to drop, they'll have their adult feathers and cold night will be nothing to them.

    Hey, at least you care about your babies, but don't let them sucker you! [​IMG] I remember the first night in the coop for our girls....ooooh brother! We had them out in the run and they were running in/out of the coop all day (as they had been for a good two weeks or so). Then the dusk came, and instead of gathering them up and heading for the brooder, we started shooshing them into the coop. They weren't keen on it, and the darker it got, the more hysterical they got. They even started flying up my DH's and my arms to our shoulders, just seeking something they knew and thought was safe. It took both of us to get them all into the coop and shut the pop hole! They absolutely WAILED for about 5 minutes, and then it tapered back to muttering and then to silence. They've been putting themselves in the coop at dusk every night since, so it apparently it wasn't too traumatic for them. [​IMG]

    Oh yes, definitely work on that hardware cloth. Dogs are another big one that can tear through chicken wire, and if a predator can can a jaw or paw even part way through a gap and grab a bird, they absolutely will pull every part they can back through that gap. If you ever visit the predators/pests forum here, you'll soon see what I mean. Just don't look right before dinner. [​IMG]
     
  8. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    You might try a small lite in the coop for a couple of days at dark so its not so dark and scary till they get used to their new home. But don't leave it on all nite as they will sleep better in the dark. Even my older girls don't like a new coop at first if its dark when you try to put them in. In a few days when the new coop feels like home they will put themselves up before dark
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    You've got a little Silver Sebright - and I think it's too early to tell if it's a boy or a girl. (Spurs can be on males and females - and they develop with age. They don't show up right away.) Sebights are true bantams, in that they were not a large fowl bird bred down to a smaller size. They are also "hen feathered" which means there is no difference between the hens and roosters in their feather styles. The males do not get the fancy tail feathers, hackle or saddle feathers - they look just like the hens except for the comb.

    The comb on a Sebright rooster will develop into a sort of spike which grows into a point facing towards the back of the head. Here's a photo of Alex, one of my two (former) Silver Sebright roosters. He's about two years old in this picture.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. chem

    chem Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Space Coast, Florida
    good morning everyone!

    i havent had my full cup of joe yet BUT i wanted to write a quick update :D

    my chickens made it through the night without having a panic attack!!! wooohooo!! i am so proud of my babies!! i ended up locking them in their coop (away from the run) and they were NOT happy with this lol they were so mad at me they screamed for a good 10 minutes. after some hissy fits they calmed down and ended up just making a little peep here and there. when i woke a half hour ago they were eager to be let out of the coop. the first thing they did was run to the food! it was amusing lol i think they will be just fine in their outdoor home now :)

    thank you all for your help. i want to write more... i just need another cup of coffee and i will be back!

    i love my chickens! [​IMG]
     

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