Hens out after dark

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GrandmaKatnip, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. GrandmaKatnip

    GrandmaKatnip Just Hatched

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    May 19, 2016
    In May I got my 27 chicks. I thought I was getting all hens, but there were 5 roosters in the mix. They became mean and were attacking me, so they are now in the freezer. Since they have been gone, the hens seem to be confused about going into the coop for the night. I have a solar powered door that closes at dusk. Frequently I find between 2-13 of the hens out in the run after the door closes. Does this have anything to do with the Roosters being gone? It is frustrating, because now we need to go check on them after dark, and get the stragglers into the coop for the night. Any advice? Thank you.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Turn off the automatic door! At least until you have everyone inside, every night, without stragglers. How big is your coop, run, and how many ft. of roost space? You may be having issues with dominant pullets keeping others out. Spend some time watching what happens out there to ID the possible issues. Mary
     
  3. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Good suggestion to stop using the door now.

    Do you have lighting inside the coop?

    Maybe take out a treat, getting their attention and put inside the coop around dusk for several days to draw them in? [​IMG]

    My chickens usually head in, in accordance with the pecking order to a degree, so that is definitely a possibility of why stragglers are out there. Some stay out to eat after the bullies have gone in. And others head in to beat bullies to a better spot without being pecked down on the way there. Also they may have been heading in to avoid being mated if the boys were at that age, happens here. And now that reason isn't there.

    Size of coop and roost are good questions. And so now your count is 22 pullets of what age? Anyone laying?

    We will be butchering cockerels soon and it will be interesting to see if the flock dynamics change.

    They usually train pretty fast, so with some consistency it shouldn't take long. [​IMG]

    Curious.... did your human aggressive boys get handled a lot when young and were originally friendly? Or always stand offish towards human interaction?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^ including the questions.

    Automatic doors are not fool proof and will not relieve you entirely from hands on management duties.

    The cockerels being gone will have an impact on the flock dynamics....things should smooth out as they rearrange the pecking order.
    But your birds are young, when they start to lay that can also change the pecking order.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Also make certain coop is not getting dark too fast.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    That's right; is it one of those cave-like coops without enough windows? Pictures! Mary
     
  7. GrandmaKatnip

    GrandmaKatnip Just Hatched

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    May 19, 2016
    Thanks for the suggestions. The coop is 21'x17'. We converted a section of an old hog barn. I have 10 nesting boxes. Their run outside is 80'x24'. Some nights there is just 1 left outside, and other nights there can be anywhere from 5-13. They have access to water and feed both inside and out. I am getting 10-14 eggs a day. The light is on a timer inside, and turns off about 1 hour after sunset. I usually go down in late afternoon to check for late eggs, and that is when I turn off their music. The roosters were pretty bossy, but now I am wondering if I should have kept one. I didn't have this problem when the boys were around. I will send pictures tomorrow. Thank you for all of your help.
     

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