Newbie needs help getting them in the coop.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by caseyBlane, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. caseyBlane

    caseyBlane Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2011
    We've had two, two year old, RIR hens for a month. I built a nice coop with attached run for them to stay in at night. I kept them cooped in for the first 4 days and after that started letting them roam our small suburban yard during the day. They were so easy. I'd see them all day and then everyday around 4:30 I would find them back in their coop and close the door for the night.

    Then, one evening an errand and late dinner led me to forget to close their coop until 09:30. I went out and found them gone with feathers all over the coop. Our yard is frequented by coons and possums, so I figured them goners and broke the news to the family.

    Amazingly, they were both in the backyard the next morning apparently physically unharmed. My five year old supposes "Big", the larger and dominant of the two fought the coon off [​IMG] I was away for the night and my wife couldn't/wouldn't catch them, so they spent another night out. I got home and put them in the coop. They were very unhappy about going back in. I kept them penned up for over a week while we went out of town. Came home and let them out the next morning. They tried to sleep on the back patio on a ledge and I had to unhappily put them back in their coop.

    Are they traumatized for life? Will the coop ever be their happy home again?
  2. Kristin.marlies

    Kristin.marlies Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 4, 2011
    I had an invasion from a predator about a year ago. My husband assured me that the coop was critter proof but it wasn't and I lost all but one hen. She of course was traumatized as was I. I brought her in the house for a night in a large dog crate until morning when I could let her back outside. She stuck near me most of the day while hubby's made sure the coop was critter resistant. She did not want to go in the next nightt so i brought her inside again. The next day I completely cleaned out the coop, put in fresh everything, treats, and left the front door wide opened while I stayed near. She eventually went in and scratched around. My hubby picked up a friend for her which she took to right away and we had a go at securing them in for the next two days. She never had a problem after that.

    I don't know if any of this helps. You could try putting the coop in a new location but I would definitely do something to better critter proof it.
  3. caseyBlane

    caseyBlane Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2011
    Thanks. It's critter proof as long as I remember to close the door! They are already picking out a spot on the porch again. I will try cleaning out the coop. The feathers are still in there. I guess that could be part of the bad memory.
  4. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi CaseyBlane:

    Glad your chickens are safe. I think the advice to clean out the coop completely and put in all new straw is
    a very good idea.

    In addition, as life is uncertain, get some of the blinking red lights to place around your chicken yard. These
    lights truly work. They blink off and on, red, and night time predators don't like them.

    They will keep your chickens safe while you are away. NiteGuard is one manufacturer. You can find them

    I bought them ten years ago when I had my first raccoon attack and I have not had one attack since. In fact I've seen
    raccoons walk around my property but not go near my chicken yard. They really work.
  5. caseyBlane

    caseyBlane Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2011
    Any other ideas? I cleaned and sanitized and replaced all the pine shavings. Kept them cooped up for about a week. Ever since, I let them out and at bed time I find them on their ledge on the patio, scoop'em up and put them back in the coop with little resistance. It's just a pain. I'd eat them but the wife and kids won't have it. I'm a bit attached them too. Just annoyed. I've been putting treats in the coop during the day. They'll go in for the treats or for feed but don't stay.
  6. EssexGirl

    EssexGirl Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    If you have been just confining them to the run, I would try shutting them inside the coop for 2-3 nights. Also, rather than giving them treats during the day, try leaving it until you are ready to shut the door behind them for the night.

    Hope you get them back where you want them! [​IMG]
  7. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    Do you have lights where they can see them from the place they want to sleep? Maybe a light in the coop (solar lights work great) would lure them in there to sleep if there weren't any lights anywhere else as the sun went down.

    No doubt they are connecting the coop and the attack in the dark. Light might reassure them.

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