"Hay You!" - What are you doing?!?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by riomurphy, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. riomurphy

    riomurphy Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Intervale, NH
    My 6 hens have a stange new habit and I don't know anything about it. I will put fresh hay into the coop and nesting boxes one day, and by the next day, it has all been removed and is strewn all over, in the run. They are still laying their eggs, but on the floor of the nesting boxes without any hay. They removed all the hay into the run, but now have nothing to sleep on or nest on inside the coop.
    Nothing has changed in their diets or habits, except that I put a light inside the coop for the evening hours and warmth. I don't know why they do this. I have tried scooping it all back up and putting it back in, but sure enough, the next day it is outside in the run. It's almost like they don't want hay inside the coop. Before then, they loved the hay and would "hunker down" in it on cold evenings. It's funny, but I am concerned that they may get too cold at night without anything to keep them warm.

    Has anyone else had behavior like this? Any ideas on the subject would be very much appreciated. Is it a "nesting" thing? Are they preparing for winter? Is it a fashion thing? [​IMG]

    They really are silly birds, but I would like them to be safe and warm.
    Thanks for any input.
  2. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    Do they have perches or roosts? Just curious.
  3. riomurphy

    riomurphy Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Intervale, NH
    Yes they do - inside the coop. Although, out of the 6 hens, I have only seen 2 use it.
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Quote:I'm just guessing - but it seems like maybe they don't want hay in their coop [​IMG] Have you tried pine shavings instead? Maybe they would prefer that? If they are fully feathered out they will be fine without the straw or even pine shavings. I use pine shavings on the floor to help absorb the pee/poop they might do on the floor. The older ones roost over a manure box filled with sand that I just scoop to get clean. Do they huddle together on the floor? My babies are doing that and they are 7 weeks old. My older ones (17 & 20 weeks old) are up on the 2x4 roosts and they are together in a row keeping warm.
  5. AuberyMirkwood

    AuberyMirkwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2011
    Clovis NM
    My chickens start doing that right after the first freeze. I've come to the conclusion that they are bored. After there are no more goodies in the yard to scratch for they turn to the coop hay. [​IMG]
  6. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    What do you put on the floor? If you throw scratch on the floor in the coop, it will give them something to do, so that they don't kick it out of the nest boxes.. Another idea is to put the hay in a circular pattern with a dent in the middle.. Oh and another thing, how long is the light on, is it on a timer?
  7. riomurphy

    riomurphy Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 19, 2011
    Intervale, NH
    We live up in the mountains of NH, where it gets dark around 4:30pm. So the light is on from 4:30 to about 7pm. It goes on around 5am and is turned off around 7am when it is light outside.
    Their egg laying hasn't slowed down. They just kick all the hay out and lay eggs & sleep on the hard wood floor of the coop. They are penned and not free ranged due to too many predators. Maybe they are bored? It doesn't seem to bother them, I guess. I just think they are goofy for moving all of their hay out of the coop. I just hope they are warm enough. It gets pretty cold here. Yes, they do huddle together too (but they wouldn't have too if they didn't kick the hay out!) Any more thoughts?
  8. chickens? not yet

    chickens? not yet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    Kingman, AZ.
    I'm with jessicayarno, mine would remove hay from their boxes, I started throwing down scratch & they stopped. Maybe they are just good coop cleaners!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by