Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Feb 2, 2009
25,921
16,253
797
Southeast Louisiana
Hi, welcome to the forum.

Yes, where are you? What kind of weather are you talking about? I've had 5-1/2 week old chicks go through nights in the mid 20's Fahrenheit (below freezing) with no supplemental heat. Yours are 6 months old. Unless you are talking a lot below zero Fahrenheit they do not need heat. Have not for months.

You have 18 pullets in an 8 x 5 coop. I assume that is feet and not meters. How is it laid out inside? What do your roosts look like? I think that might be part of the problem. If you are using that just as a place for them to sleep and lay, you may be OK with enough roost space, but if you leave them locked in there for any length of time you could have bad problems.

Rosemary's list could also come into play. Decent ventilation and natural light could really help.

I suggest you do not mix the oyster shell with their feed. Don't crush it to a powder, leave it in chunk form and offer it to the side. If they need it they should know to eat it, but not overindulge. Since you are feeding them rice and they free range they may need some extra calcium, they may not. If your native rock is limestone they may be getting enough calcium from that. Look at your egg shells. If they are hard they are getting enough calcium from somewhere. Don't try to trick them into eating more than they need. Just like for you, enough calcium is a good thing, too much can be bad.
 

brianmscott

Hatching
Sep 20, 2020
6
5
6
Kings mountain nc usa
Chickens don't like it warm. They need good ventilation. They also shouldn't get light 24 hours. How big is your set up? Can you share pictures?
I am a new chicken raiser, I bought 18 pullets iso browns. first 6weeks I kept them in a very large box with a heat lamp then when they got big enough I moved them to a large pen totally enclosed with a hen house that is insulated with a light on 24 hrs a day and plenty of hay and roosting shelves. They are all doing good and at 6 mnths or so they began laying. so they lay eggs in henhouse, but at night they sleep in the enclosed pen. it is starting to get cold and then are still sleeping all together in pen, not the warm hen house. But they always lay in the hen house......suggestions???
 

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rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,096
22,391
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Is the roost the wood board that's sitting tilted at the top in photo #1? Or am I confused? Wait, is the coop photo #4? If so, we need photos inside the coop, to figure out why they might not want to roost. You said it's 8'x5'? How much linear ft of roost do you have total?

If you have 18 birds you really could use a bigger coop, like double the size that you have - and maybe more roost space.
 

brianmscott

Hatching
Sep 20, 2020
6
5
6
Kings mountain nc usa
I tried to upload a video that really showed the hen house, it is pic 4 it has 3 shelves that are like 2.5 ft tall and flat, Pic 1 is where they are roosting now at night. I turned the light off so i am waiting to see if I need to start enclosing them in the hen house at night. speaking of the three shelves I filled it with hay and they have made 4 nests and that is where they all lay their eggs. I found a snake in there the other day and funny enough one hen was on her nest covering the eggs, which was unusual, then I immediately spotted the snake other end of hen house, the poor snake is now deceased but she would not leave her eggs til he was gone. but their are nests on every shelf. I will take more photos of inside the hen house tomorrow
 

Awakening Forest

FreeBird
Premium Feather Member
Aug 14, 2020
481
1,561
236
North Central Florida
I found a snake in there the other day and funny enough one hen was on her nest covering the eggs, which was unusual, then I immediately spotted the snake other end of hen house, the poor snake is now deceased but she would not leave her eggs til he was gone. but their are nests on every shelf. I will take more photos of inside the hen house tomorrow
If you had a snake, chances are you have rodents. Either one would be a reason the hens don't sleep in there at night. Had you picked up the snake and taken it elsewhere it wouldn't have gone back and would have helped you with the rodent population. They are generally more scared of humans, rightfully so, imo, and will respect your territory.
 

brianmscott

Hatching
Sep 20, 2020
6
5
6
Kings mountain nc usa
I tried to upload a video that really showed the hen house, it is pic 4 it has 3 shelves that are like 2.5 ft tall and flat, Pic 1 is where they are roosting now at night. I turned the light off so i am waiting to see if I need to start enclosing them in the hen house at night. speaking of the three shelves I filled it with hay and they have made 4 nests and that is where they all lay their eggs. I found a snake in there the other day and funny enough one hen was on her nest covering the eggs, which was unusual, then I immediately spotted the snake other end of hen house, the poor snake is now deceased but she would not leave her eggs til he was gone. but their are nests on every shelf. I will take more photos of inside the hen house tomorrow
 

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