Major changes to roost and coop == chicken stress. What can I do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by supersara, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. supersara

    supersara New Egg

    Jul 4, 2012
    My husband recently revamped our coop in a big way: he changed the location of the door and the ramp up to it (the coop has two levels, the second level being where they sleep), he installed a Pullet-Shut (an automatic door that opens and closes based on light levels), and installed a longer roost--which required repositioning the roost. Ever since, my girls seem down and out. There are a few problems I don't know how to solve:

    1. Egg production has nose-dived to almost zero. I do live in Massachusetts so I expected a decline in egg production in the winter months...but zero? Is that safe?
    2. The few times I've gotten eggs, they have not used the nesting box; they've laid around their yard. I didn't change anything about the nesting box itself. Could this be because they are afraid of the door closing and possibly hurting them? And thus they don't want to go into the coop unless absolutely necessary? Has anyone had experience with the automatic doors being an issue?
    3. They are not using their new roost; when they're in for the night, they generally sit on the floor right next to it. Can I expect them to eventually get used to it? It's exactly the same shape and height as the old roost, just longer (I got two new girls in the spring and all of the chickens couldn't fit on the old roost) and positioned in the middle of the coop rather than at one end. Do I need to help them along at all? It's been about a week.

    If it helps I have 4 hens total. Two more mature, two younger. They squabble every so often but get along for the most part.

    Thank you!!!
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Chickens hate change. So yes, a change like that will bother them in all those areas. Give them about a week and they should settle down and start laying again. (unless the stress forces them into a molt)

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