Help! Agoraphobic chickens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NormandyChicken, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. NormandyChicken

    NormandyChicken Hatching

    Feb 8, 2008
    2 weeks ago I bought 4 hens that I was told by the seller were around 26 weeks or so, and ready to lay very soon.

    They are not a special breed or anything, and were bought from the local market here in France. We have done this before, and always had great chickens, so we are not inexperienced owners.

    Ok, so we have a dedicated concrete chicken house for them with a fenced in yard area around it, all in all, it must be 30m square. We have put in boxes for each chicken, water, corn and grain, fresh hay, you name it. The run faces south, so it has good sunlight all day, and we thought it should be chicken paradise.

    So, one has started to lay, and has produced a small egg each day for the last 4, but the other 3 have not started laying yet. No a problem, but more annoyingly, they just won't leave the chicken house!

    They literally spend all day in there sitting, scratching a little maybe, but never willingly going out! If I go in and move them outside and close the door, then stay and watch them, they are fine, and seem to conform to the behavior I would expect... I go inside, and then so do they! I honestly think that they have agoraphobia, as they just won't go out for more than 5 mins at a time!

    Help! Any advice appreciated as to whether this is normal, or what I should do to make them go out more!

  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Several of my birds don't like going outside either. My solution was to move the
    feeders and waterers outside during the day so they would have to go outside.
    It has helped a lot. I feed them a lot of threats outside too.

    Chickens seem to be creatures of habit. Your chickens were probably kept inside
    by the original owner. Give them some time. They will snap out of it.
  3. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Sounds like they where raised in a coop and not let out often, if at all. It may help to move their food and water outside during the day and give them SPECIAL treats outside only. This should help modify their routine.
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    My chickens stay in the coop a lot too. I added a small covered area in their run and they like to go under it. But they RUN from the coop to the covered area. I believe they are wary of birds of prey. We have a lot of hawks, owls, and other large birds here.

    It does sound like they were probably kept in a coop all the time by their previous owner. But maybe if they had a covered area outside, they would feel safer. I know mine do.
  5. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    Mine too, for what it's worth. I had eight chicks that we raised who run outside the second it is light and stay outside until dusk. We got two new hens from a neightbor who didn't like them [​IMG] and they stayed inside every second. They did come out for water and then started hanging out under the covered area in the run. Now they are much better about being outside, but it took a good 2-3 months for their behavior to change.

    Treats outside is the best bet, if you can get them to come out to eat them!

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