Is this normal for a new bunch of girls?

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,166
97,406
1,677
SW Michigan
My Coop
Second pic is new feathers growing in.

Their new home with the appropriate dog tax applied. He loves to sniff around the coop but does not bark at them.
He's looking for 'snacks'!

Might need some more ventilation in that coop, unless there's more windows on the other side. Hopefully soffits are open.
 

Phlimm

Chirping
8 Years
May 8, 2012
37
18
94
Spring Hill, TN
Might need some more ventilation in that coop, unless there's more windows on the other side. Hopefully soffits are open.
There is a second opening on the opposite side. It is a long narrow slot about the same height as the front door window. It is always open and the door to the run is always open.

Which leads me to my next question.

The girls...they LOVE to just stand around inside the coop. The leave the run where all the food and water and nice grass is and go inside. They just stand there looking at each other. They would do it all day long if I did not shoo them out into the run like a 1970's mom with her video game playing kids. GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

So, is that something I should be doing? I am trying to reduce all their stress to get them to start laying and feel like they are safe here. I even opened the big door and waited to see what they would do. They walked up to the doorway and pecked happily at the grass but would not come outside.

This is they way they behave no matter if it is hot or rainy or just right.

So should I keep on shooing them out into the run? Or even try letting them run around the back yard or just wait for them to make that decision on their own? It's weird. The last chickens we had loved to run around, chase each other and take dirt baths, etc. All these girls seem interested in is staring at each other in the coop.
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
2,965
4,421
286
USA
The last chickens we had loved to run around, chase each other and take dirt baths, etc. All these girls seem interested in is staring at each other in the coop.
I would let them stare at each other if they want to, but you should probably also check in case there's something dangerous or scary outside.

They might be staying inside because it's cooler, or they want shade, or shelter from wind, or a hawk flew over so they want to be under a roof, or a dog sometimes runs by and barks, or a cat creeps up and stares at them, or something like that.

It's hard to guess what causes chickens to do the things they do! But if there's nothing obviously wrong, I would just let them do what they're doing, and figure they will probably get bored and wander outside at some point.
 

Phlimm

Chirping
8 Years
May 8, 2012
37
18
94
Spring Hill, TN
There's definitely nothing dangerous. They are completely safe in the run and 95% safe in the back yard as long as a person is out there with them. There are occasional noises from cars and maybe neighbor dog barks but not loud or nearby. Our backyard is quite large and we are on a corner lot so only two direct neighbors.

Half or the run has hardware cloth and the other half has hardware cloth and a roof. I doubt they would even be able to see a hawk overhead.

Of course they could perceive it as dangerous I suppose.

Also with regard to fake eggs in the nesting boxes to -ahem- make a suggestion, is a colored plastic Easter egg sufficient or should I get something more true to nature?
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
2,965
4,421
286
USA
Also with regard to fake eggs in the nesting boxes to -ahem- make a suggestion, is a colored plastic Easter egg sufficient or should I get something more true to nature?
Plastic Easter eggs tend to be very light weight. Some people fill them with sand or gravel so they don't get accidentally scratched out of the nest.

Plastic eggs, wooden eggs, ceramic eggs, golf balls... They don't seem too fussy about the details.
 

RainbowHen

Make eggs, not war
Premium Feather Member
Jul 10, 2020
748
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Wisconsin
There is a second opening on the opposite side. It is a long narrow slot about the same height as the front door window. It is always open and the door to the run is always open.

Which leads me to my next question.

The girls...they LOVE to just stand around inside the coop. The leave the run where all the food and water and nice grass is and go inside. They just stand there looking at each other. They would do it all day long if I did not shoo them out into the run like a 1970's mom with her video game playing kids. GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

So, is that something I should be doing? I am trying to reduce all their stress to get them to start laying and feel like they are safe here. I even opened the big door and waited to see what they would do. They walked up to the doorway and pecked happily at the grass but would not come outside.

This is they way they behave no matter if it is hot or rainy or just right.

So should I keep on shooing them out into the run? Or even try letting them run around the back yard or just wait for them to make that decision on their own? It's weird. The last chickens we had loved to run around, chase each other and take dirt baths, etc. All these girls seem interested in is staring at each other in the coop.
Sounds like the poor things have been, quite literally, cooped up their whole lives. Give them time. I'm sure they will come around. They have to learn what all this new stuff is.
 

Phlimm

Chirping
8 Years
May 8, 2012
37
18
94
Spring Hill, TN
Would adding another hen that is laying possible put the idea back into their heads? It's been over a week and they all are starting to look physically better (bald patches growing in, etc.), they do sort of walk around in the run on their own from time to time and three of them roost on their own every night. The Black Copper Maran does not seem to want to roost for some reason. I put her up there every night.

But no eggs yet from four hens. I have yet to even see them in the nesting boxes except to try to sleep there. We were thinking if we introduced a new hen and she was laying that this might...egg them along...
 

Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,090
271
Georgia
Would adding another hen that is laying possible put the idea back into their heads? It's been over a week and they all are starting to look physically better (bald patches growing in, etc.), they do sort of walk around in the run on their own from time to time and three of them roost on their own every night. The Black Copper Maran does not seem to want to roost for some reason. I put her up there every night.

But no eggs yet from four hens. I have yet to even see them in the nesting boxes except to try to sleep there. We were thinking if we introduced a new hen and she was laying that this might...egg them along...
Personally I would NOT add another hen or make any other big changes. These birds do sound like traumatized retired battery hens. God only knows what sort of living conditions they were in but obviously the new environment and food is very very different than what they are used too.

A week is not long. She may also have sold them because they aren't producing as much due to poor health/stress. Give them more time with no big changes or new birds.

If they are not used to being outside in the sun then maybe some shade cloth or a tarp over their run will help, it will seems safer and less "scary outdoorsy". They will likely look absolutely beautiful in a few months when their new feathers come in and they will start laying just take it easy and give them some time.
 

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