Hens wanting to sleep outside the coop.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by theireton, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. theireton

    theireton Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 20, 2012
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    For some reason, my hens no longer want to go in the coop at night. This started last night. They huddle up together in the corner of the run and lay down and sleep there. I'm not sure why, I've checked the coop for predators or signs of predators and couldn't find anything. Any suggestions?
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My first guess would be mites/lice. If they associate biting and itching with being in the coop, they'll prefer to stay out of it.
     
  3. ASilkieNest

    ASilkieNest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes if there's a mean hen or roo in the coop they will stay outside but sometimes they just do it. U may just have to manually put them in the coop
     
  4. theireton

    theireton Out Of The Brooder

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    How do you treat mites or lice in the coop?
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I would start by doing a thorough clean out of all bedding - including sweeping out the dust if possible. Also clean off all the roosts and nest boxes. If you truly have an infestation, Sevin Dust is probably your best bet - you can find it in the gardening section of most box stores. Sprinkle it on all surfaces - roosts, nest boxes, floor - anywhere the birds sit - and then add fresh, clean bedding. You will also need to treat the birds themselves.

    That said, I actually hate Sevin Dust with a passion because its use is one of the causes of the reduction of bee populations, so when it comes time to clean out the coop again, try to keep this layer of bedding from ending up on gardens, as it will kill your beneficial insects.

    Many people use food-grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth) instead, as it is an organic product. I have used it with limited success and after spending hours researching it, including multiple scientific studies, I don't believe it works as well as many people swear it does. But I figure - if it works for you, its a better alternative than the Sevin Dust so I would never tell anyone not to use it.

    Incidentally, before going through all this, you might want to verify that the birds actually do have parasites and the best way to do that is to go out after dark with a flashlight, as they are most active at night. Shine the flashlight on their skin, particularly around their vent and in their armpits, and if they have them, you will likely see them crawling around on the skin.
     
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  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Excellent Advice!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  7. theireton

    theireton Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much! I'll check them out tonight.
     
  8. whittychick

    whittychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How did it go?
     
  9. theireton

    theireton Out Of The Brooder

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    On the ones I checked I didn't see anything. It was difficult to really see the skin though. I think I'm going to play it safe and treat them and the coop as if there were an infestation. I did see them pecking around at their feathers more than usual today. So I think they may have lice.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It is hard to get down to the skin, but essential IMO as I don't like to use poisons unless it's absolutely necessary.

    It almost takes 2 people, 1 to hold the bird and the other with a headlight on to part the feathers all the way down to the skin.
     
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