My hens aren't doing it right!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by melissamende, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. melissamende

    melissamende In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2016
    So this is my first time raising chickens and my girls are seriously stubborn. I have 2 barnvelders and 1 cream legbard they were around 12 weeks when i got them in July, so I'd put them at about 22 weeks now They still are not roosting at night and even when i place them on the roosting bar in the evening they rarely stay on. The legbard is the most cooperative, but the barnvelders want absolutely nothing to do with me and flip out when i try and place them on. They insist on piling in a corner. The roosting bar is pretty low and might have something to do with it. Does anyone have any suggestions or do i just keep going out at night and place them on the bar and hope they finally get a clue?

    My next issue is that they aren't laying eggs yet. They have a small raised coop with an attached run and i let them out during the day in an enclosed area I got the fake eggs to put in the nesting box to give them a hint but they never are in the actual coop during the day and when they go up in the evening it's pretty dark in there so i don't even know if they see it. I know they will do it in their own time and there's not much i can do... mostly i just wanted to complain about this.

    Last, but not least, I have a PVC pipe waterer with the little cup dispenser in their run and I'm not sure they are actually drinking water from it. When i first got them i was able to teach them to us it pretty easily and it was fine. But then I started putting a bowl of water out in their yard space and it seemed like they started exclusively drinking from that bc when i would let them out or the run in the morning they would immediately go to it and drink. I stopped putting out the water bowl bc I wanted them to use the waterer but i never see them drink from it. I tried to get them into the habit again by putting meal worms in the little cup by they wouldn't go near it. I don't have room in the enclosed run to put a bowl or hanging water which is why i went with the PVC pipe style in the firs place. I will say they don't seem dehydrated or anything so they must be getting water from somewhere and i could just be imagining things...

    Sorry i know this was a reeeally long post. Feel free to tell me to relax and stop being a first time chicken mom.

  2. SueT

    SueT Crowing

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    What is your roost made from? Perhaps it is too skinny to be comfortable? Mine like a 4" diameter tree branch the best, and the lesser chickens get relegated to a 2X3" board.
    They will lay eggs when they are ready, which surely will be soon. Look for signs, bright red comb/wattles, squatting behavior, trying out nests, etc.
    I would keep using the water bowl. With only 3 chickens, it's pretty easy to keep the water clean, yes? You don't want to risk that they aren't getting water.
    Have you checked out the learning center, and forum archives? Lots of good advice to be had. ----Good luck with your little flock!
  3. WiddleChix

    WiddleChix Chirping

    Jul 15, 2016
    When you put them on their roost at night can they see the roost or is it really dark in there? I had a fair sized outdoor brooder in the run next to the coop when mine were chicks and when I let them out when they were old enough to go into the coop and not get through the chicken wire they insisted on sleeping on top of the brooder instead of in the coop. Usually people lock their chicks in the coop for a few days so they establish where home is but I didn't feel comfortable leaving them in their coop for days on end. I see yours have established where in general to sleep but not where exactly. Gosh sorry this is getting really long [​IMG] Anyway for them to realize they were supposed to sleep on the roost i had to go out when it was dark to catch them then I would put a light ( I used a battery powered electric lantern from Costco). I put it in the coop so it would light it then I would put a chick in the coop and when they hopped up on the roost I would turn off the lantern so they stayed then repeat with the remaining chickens and turkey( atleast we know this works on different species [​IMG]). I tried this method after about a week of placing them on the roost myself without light and them still roosting on the brooder. I realized chickens have bad eyesight in the dark and figured if they did it them self they would get it and see enough they got it after one night.

    Next I just use the gallon gravity type waterer or whatever you call it just the standard one with a screw on container. I've never tried the pvc with the cups but I've been looking into it. I can't really think of a reason except they just aren't used to or don't like it.

    And about the nesting boxes/eggs, I have two bearing boxes in my coop with curtains and a fake egg in each one. I introduced the boxes with eggs to my babies when they were about 16 or so weeks old. They just became interested recently and checking them out in the coop and their combs are getting big and red so I think they're going to lay soon, I think that's why all of a sudden they became interested so I'm thinking yours will check them out when their ready or if you have the option of leaving the coop open they might be more interested because its open.

    Edited to add: I have a door on my coop I open to clean and collect eggs(no eggs yet) that's prolly 3x4 feet or so and when I open it they get really interested and go in their and scratch around and look in the nesting boxes and what not.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  4. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Songster

    Jan 16, 2016
    I sort of have the same water issue. At first I had an auto water bowl in my coop, but the water collected too much dirt and was a hassle to change because I didn't want to get the floor wet. I also had a bucket waterer with nipples on the outside run. I had seen all my girls drink from the bucket so I switched the bowl for the bucket with nipples inside the coop. Now every morning when I let them out to free range they all run down to the dogs bowl on the patio like they are really thirsty. I know they are drinking because the water in the bucket does go down, I guess they just really like the bowl type waterers.

  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    If possible raise the roost bar. They naturally want to roost up higher. Not sure how low yours is but mine sits up about 2' and they seem to really like that height and don't have an issue flying up to it. You don't have to go that high, I've read that 18" up is ideal (for both flying up and landing).

    IMO I wouldn't worry about the waterer. They'll always prefer water in a bowl (or on the ground, or dripping off a fence, or from your coffee mug) over any other source you give them. They didn't die of dehydration with the PVC waterer and they'll go back to using it if you take the bowls away.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Pics of your coop inside and out might help.
    Agrees too early to worry about laying, both those breeds are generally later layers.

    Also agree with that they will choose an open waterer if available over anything else.
    Add water daily at the same time and mark the water level to see how much they are consuming in a 24 hour period
    My birds drink less out of waterers on rainy days.

    Water issue should be resolved sooner rather than later.....with thoughts towards winter.
    I see from your first post that you are in Chicago, those cups will freeze in winter.
    You'll need to have a plan for keeping them in liquid water over winter and it's best to put that plan in place now,
    as they will balk and any new watering system but given time they will adjust.
    I use a DIY heated waterer with Horizontal Nipples. Changing to HN's will take time, need to do it before it starts getting really cold.

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