I think my chickens hate their coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Linnea1024, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. Linnea1024

    Linnea1024 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is what I built to protect them from the hawk (I didn't build the coop just the cage).
    [​IMG]

    This is what they do if I don't get them in their cage/coop before dusk...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This was their area before I realized there was a hawk watching them...
    [​IMG]


    This is my first time as an adult having chickens. As a child I grew up on a ranch and had chickens... I don't recall much of how I cared for them as a child. I only remember the rooster being aggressive and chasing me. lol!

    I have a coop, pictures attached and I swear they hate it. If I don't put them to bed at night they will roost in the orange tree. It gets very cold at night and I'm afraid they're going to die.

    My black and brown chicken (I don't know the breeds) seem to hate each other so perhaps that's why they won't go in. The ruler of the roost, aka "my lady bird," my rhode island red seems to be okay w/ the coop and is my only layer at the moment. She's the queen bee, the eldest of the three but if she sees the brown and black jump into the orange tree she'll go up there too. I'll bring out warm rice and steamed veggies and can typically luer her down and into the coop but the other two won't come out of the tree at dusk to save their lives...

    During the day if I'm home they can free range in their area.... But I'm afraid to let them free range when I'm not home for fear they'll get taken by a hawk that has been eyeing them or that they'll freeze to death in the frigid night weather.

    My husband thinks we need to get the coop up off the ground higher... I don't know what to do. The first day we got them they lived on my garage roof and in the orange tree... Thank God it was still warm outside.

    Help!
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I suspect that they do not want to go into a small, enclosed box at ground level like that, chickens always prefer to roost higher up. And if they don't get along well and there is squabbling then a small space is even less enticing. Either way, they want to roost up higher. But they are certainly at great risk from predators by roosting at night in the tree's or on the rooftops.
     
  3. Linnea1024

    Linnea1024 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've gotta find something higher... I was looking for a used shed to turn into a coop but haven't had much luck. The good news is they love me... I feed them a hot breakfast every morning... Either rice with steamed veggies and crushed cashews sprinkled over the top or oatmeal with flax seeds, raisins, and almonds... In their little coop I do have a radiant wall heater so it keeps them warm in the frigid temperatures.

    Thank you for the advise! [​IMG]
     
  4. Purpletie3

    Purpletie3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MY RIR's would roost in the trees if I didn't lock them down by dusk also. Safer then the ground because they are protected by the leafs. Some breeds like trees more than others. They may not want to be so closed in your coop and like the others said they like to roost up high. Not sure what you have for a roost bar in that. Silkies would love that set up because they are not as big on roosting and typically don't like to climb up into coops. Good luck!
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    My Coop
    X 2 - the current setup is not inviting from a chicken's perspective. I would start looking into ways you can provide a housing unit that is more suited to chickens and you will likely see a change in their preference. There are a few things about the coop you are using that would be unattractive to a chicken.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  6. Linnea1024

    Linnea1024 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you everyone... I need to work on something better for my little ladies... Being my first time having my very own chickens (that weren't on my Dad's ranch) this is all a real learning experience for me. When I picked that coop it had amazing reviews but perhaps those reviews were for people who had tiny little chickadees.
     
  7. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Linnea,

    I can assure you that if you live in a climate that can support an Orange tree then your birds will be just fine with the winter lows. But I understand wanting them in the coop, We've all had the same struggles at one time or another. I tried for years to grow lemon, lime, orange and avocado trees in NC by wrapping them in Christmas tree lights and covering with burlap in the winter but they always died. Some would make it a year or two but once the surface of the leaf reaches freezing it kills it.
    Your picture of the bird on the roof cracked me up. When we were new to chickens and trying to keep them a secret as we live in a neighborhood with an HOA that forbids it, one of our girls would jump up on the roof of the shed for all the neighbors to see in the evening.

    What is your location?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  8. Linnea1024

    Linnea1024 Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in San Jose, California. Lows can get down to about 30 a few times in the winter, mostly in the low 40s. My orange tree has never been more gorgeous w/ all their poop around it. The oranges are big and plump and fabulous. :) While I hunt down an inexpensive shed to turn into a hen house I'm going to lift their coop off the ground by about 3 feet and create a little ramp. That should help some. I have a radiant heater in it to keep them warm. :)

    Thank you, your words give me encouragement and make me feel better. They are literally the fattest girls ever too so I'm sure they are okay in the tree at night. I have fattened them up with a hearty diet. :)
     
  9. manaze88

    manaze88 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is unnecessary. The chickens will be fine without the extra heat. If anything, the added element of the radiant heater could be more of an unnecessary risk.

    I think raising the roost will help, but they definitely like it up high in the trees if they can get in them. If you can find an old shed, or build one, make sure it's high enough with some roost bars to make them feel safer and I think that will get them out of the tree where they are more susceptible to other predators!!
     
  10. Linnea1024

    Linnea1024 Out Of The Brooder

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