Help - My Chickens can't read!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by xC0000005, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. xC0000005

    xC0000005 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2009
    Kirkland, WA
    My wife decided we were going to keep chickens. (I thought she was crazy).
    A few months later, I think she's brilliant. We've got more eggs than any family should ever have. My daughters love the chickens (and let themselves right in to hold the bantam cochins).
    They've also raised a set of buff orpingtons who believe they are lap pets and lay large, beautiful brown eggs (though one lays white eggs just because).

    This is all good.
    We bought a couple books on raising chickens, read up on the net and got all set. The problem is that apparently even though I've read the chicken books cover to cover, the chickens, it seems, have not.

    The bantam cochins are in a sort of chicken tractor (a dog run with heavy livestock wire ("chicken wire" is worthless). Those steadfastly avoid the feed and eat grass. Ok, so far, so good. I live near Seattle and we get a lot of daily drizzle. The chicken books indicate that chickens hate to get wet. That they like sheltered areas where they can feed and such. My chickens do not care at all what the books say.

    In the morning, in the rain, the cochins head out and begin to pick at grass or catch the occasional bee.
    They do not keep under cover. They do not seem to care if they more resemble a sponge than a chicken. The tractor is half covered. The chickens show no preference for cover or not cover. They have food and water and grass and plenty of space in the covererd areas. They choose to go out into the rain.

    The buffs, on the other hand, refuse to use their coop. As chicks they got used to pilling into a lump in one corner of the run (a heavily sheltered, southward corner) and no fancy coop, perches or anything else can coax them from their chicken pile. "Chickens are descended from roosting game birds, and like a simulation of a low branch to perch on," says the book. Maybe other chickens. I spent a couple weeks moving them into the coop. Then my wife pointed out that if they wanted to be in the coop they have wings and legs and they'd probably go. The chickens quite happily explore the coop during the day, using it to space themselves out further but at night it's "squeeze into a puddle of feathers in the corner" time.

    If these were bees, I'd be completely comfortable with this. Bees do what they want and don't care at all what the books say. I usually say that the bees have much more practice being bees than we do, so whatever they want to do is fine by me.

    Is it the same with chickens? Should I be concerned that my Fish-Chicken hybrids do not care about getting very, very wet? Or that the buff Orpingtons dont' roost? Or should I figure out some way to confine them in the dry and continue my chicken relocation services?
  2. 3goodeggs

    3goodeggs pays attention sporadically

    May 22, 2009
    North Central Florida
    My Buff Orpingtons do not rost either. We have tried bamboo. 2x4's...they pile up in the corner like they did in the brooder. a few of the 24 are roosting, some spend the night in their nest boxes. I dunno. offer them what they need and if they want it it's there. Can't lead a horse to water type of thing.
  3. france

    france Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    North East
    My chickens also love the rain. It is so funny to see their skinny little bodies when they are all wet [​IMG]

    As for staying out of the coop my only concern would be predators at night. Maybe try putting them into the coop
    and locking them in for 3-4 days. Let them get the idea that the coop is home.
  4. M To The Maxx

    M To The Maxx Baseball+Girls=Life

    Jul 24, 2009
    Quote:My chickens love the rain to. Also [​IMG] xC0000005
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Who doesn't like a nice shower. Yep! mine love a light rain too. They will however dive for cover when it is really hard.
    Gloria Jean
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  6. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Rain is the best time to go looking for bugs! Mine love it, but also will opt for cover when it is really heavy.

    It took about two-three weeks of me moving my stubborn chickens onto the roost at night for them to get the hint. Eventually, they will learn! [​IMG]
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:I agree. That would be my concern. I'm not sure how large the openings are in your livestock wire, but if it's similar to my welded wire, a racoon and many other predators could easily reach through and grab a chicken. Even if they couldn't pull one through, it'd probably lose a head. I would PUT them in the coop whether they like it or not, force them to get into that habit. Maybe you could lure them each evening (for several days) by sprinkling treats inside. And seriously, you need to get busy teaching those birds how to read! Mine could read by 6 weeks!! [​IMG]
  8. Rebel Rooster

    Rebel Rooster I Will Love! :)

    Jun 29, 2009
    Central SC
    My Coop
    Let them be themselves! I think that U mentioned that the run was built like a fort... if your not having trouble with predation, no worries then! Changing their routines drives them crazy!
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    LOVE this title and love your post! Mine can't read either, they don't mind the rain at all either and here in Ohio, we get our share of rain! Maybe not up to your standards, but plenty. My chooks just toodle around in the rain as if they think they're ducks!

    I agree with locking them inside the coop for several days, placing them up on the roosts is optional, but I'd probably do it partly because then they poop overnight underneath there and it's easier to clean up that way.

    Having them outdoors in their feather pile that way does leave them very vulnerable to predators, and even in towns and cities, raccoons can be devastating when they pull chickens out one piece at a time. Still, all your choice really, it sounds like they're quite happy!
  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    If your chickens didn't go out when it's raining, they'd never be outside!! You get so much rain there. (mine go out in the rain too, and they look like a cat does when they are wet)

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