Moved coop - now staying out all night. Help me please!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gypsy07, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Any new chickens I've ever got have learned quite quickly to go roost in the coop at night. The longest it's ever taken anyone to get the hang of it up till now is about a week. But now I've got these ones that just don't want to go inside at night any more.

    I've got about 20 hens in my main coop and run, and I've got another coop and run I usually raise my growers in. They stay in separate coops but free range through the day and cross paths throughout the day without squabbling. Till a few weeks ago I had 2 roos and 6 pullets in the grower's coop. They were about 8 months old, all hatched and raised together. I did a cull and gave 4 of the pullets away, and slaughtered one of the roos. The next night, the remaining roo and two pullets didn't return to their coop at dusk. I couldn't find them anywhere so had to leave them out all night. The next night I figured out where they were hiding and put them back in the grower's coop. And the next night, and the next night. Then I moved them all into the main coop one night (which had been the plan all along). I left them all shut in the main coop and run till the next afternoon, then let everybody out to free range as normal. That night, and every night since, I've had to go on a chicken hunt. One of them roosts up in a tree and the other two are usually in a barn on top of a woodpile. And both of the pullets are now laying away.

    I get that the cull and upheaval was obviously a major disruption for them and the catalyst for their behaviour, but how long is it going to go on? I'm getting seriously fed up tramping round the farm every night splashing through puddles and scrabbling up trees and over piles of wood full of rusty nails just to put these troublemakers to bed. If I do it before full dark they just hop down off the roost and bugger off outside again. And I can't shut them in early as some of my other chickens don't go to bed till really late and I can't shut them out. Any other chickens I've had this problem with have got the message after a week of being carted back home and stuck on the roost, maybe ten days at most. But this has been going on for a month now!

    I'd just leave them to it, but two of them are the best of my Marsh Daisies and I don't want a fox taking them...

    Anyone got any ideas? [​IMG]
     
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I would not let them out at all for a few days to see if that doesn't help. I know the chickens won't be happy not getting to free range, but I don't know any other way to handle it.
     
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I'd try that, but the run is very small. The coop is 6x8 and the run is 8x9 on one side and 8x7 on the other, with a pop hole on each side of the coop. I didn't make it very big cause I knew I'd be free ranging them all day every day. I think it would almost border on cruelty to keep some 20-24 chickens (not sure exactly!) all jammed up in there for a few days. I know I might have to try it eventually, but I really don't want to...
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can run a small flashlight or something like that when it is time to go in the coop. They might go toward the light.
     
  5. CluckCluck18

    CluckCluck18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    Largo, FL
    Those darn chickens they HATE changes! Try a light....I did that when mine were young....put one of those tap light in the coop and they went right toward it.....after a few days they were fine. I have some one month old chicks in the brooder and thought I'd give them a treat and put them outside for awhile in a pen and they totally flipped out. Had to put them back inside. They're chickens but they should be called scared cats.[​IMG]
     
  6. TroutsChicks

    TroutsChicks Fluffy Stuffins

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    baxter Tn
    I agree, I would try locking them up if you can. Maybe then you can break them of it. I bet its one trouble maker. let us know how this goes.
     
  7. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    I kept them all locked in for one day. The next night, the troublesome three all stayed out again. They're still doing it. A couple of nights ago two of them found somewhere new to hide, and so they ended up staying out all night. The night after that, one of them found a new roosting spot up in a tree.
    They really are a bunch of PITAs... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  8. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    Arkansas
    I'm in agreement. Lock them in for abit. Also, you can throw in a bag of leaves or green clippings for them to sort thru when they get bored, that will keep them busy for quite awhile. It's the right time of year for the leaves. [​IMG]
     
  9. RooLove

    RooLove New Egg

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    Jun 21, 2011
    Mine are doing the same thing! I had 16, and am now down to 12. I have locked them in the coop. They hate it and can't wait to come out. I also started closing the coop during the day so they can't get to their food, they just have to rely on foraging. Then at dusk I open it up, and they all go in to eat and I can close the door for the night.
     
  10. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    Okay, here's the update, and it's not a very nice one unfortunately.

    So... Mid October I shut everybody in the coop for another day, but the next night the problem three disappeared again and stayed out overnight, again. I found where they were roosting up in a tree and carted them back to the coop. The smae thing happened the next night. And the next night. And the next... I finally decided to leave them to it, and so they moved back to their tree at the rear of the grower's run.

    The two pullets have been missing for about 10 days now - they've presumably been foxed, as we've had a few fox problems of late - and the rooster is now spending his nights in our stables with the horses. He's been showing signs of moving in next door with my neighbour's hens, and spends most of his days hanging around with them in their garden, but as yet still won't actually get in their coop at dusk and spend the night with them.

    I have some more growers and some recently purchased adults of the same breed who are now acting exactly the same way. [​IMG]

    Although I was a rather hacked off about losing my two nice pullets, well, they were given ample opportunity to have a toasty warm and dry perch at night yet just seemed to prefer being outside halfway up a tree no matter how cold or wet the weather. I really don't want to keep hens I can't free range, and at the end of the day, I figured I could either keep them locked up all the time or let them just take their chances.

    I've started calling this breed my biker hens. As in - Live Free Die Young... [​IMG]
     

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