Normal for chickens to be so "out-of-it" in the dark?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by anniem, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. anniem

    anniem Songster

    Mar 17, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    I got home kinda late tonight, it was dark, stepped onto the deck to go close the coop and there are feathered kids on the railing! Totally took me by surprise, they seem to go roost so early usually. I have 2 bunches of chickens, both born this spring, just the older ones were out. They younger ones were inside.
    I carried them 2 at a time into the coop but they were so lame about even being set on the ground inside, the roo took a minute to even stand, they seemed to slowly wander aimlessly. I finally put each one on the roost, unfortunately this included knocking a couple down off the roost when putting another one to close (sorry girls! it is less than a foot down though).
    It was just weird. They seemed to act normal when I had the porch light on, so I figure it was just b/c of the dark but bizarre enough that I needed to post about it.

    I just hope I'm not roosting them every night! Little buggers....
  2. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    They can't see well in the dark. That's why. They are almost blind.
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    You may have to move them several nights until they learn where home is. You can also lock them in the coop for seveal days so that they HAVE to roost inside.

    It's perfectly normal for them to be "out of it" at night ---- which is why I do all my catching, counting, legbanding, doctoring, and whatnot off the roost.
    Make your roosts a comfortable height to walk up to and it will be a big bonus for these chores!!! Mine are 3ft high and I can put a legband on a bird while they stand on the roost!
  4. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Chickens do not have good night vision. Also they "go to bed" early. I agree with the earlier posts that you should "put your hens to bed' when the sun goes down. If they don't get the hint, then you should lock them up in the coop/run for a week or so until they get the idea. It only took my hens three days to understand that they should be on the roost at sundown. Now some of them go in early to get the best seats!!! [​IMG]

    Good Luck!

  5. anniem

    anniem Songster

    Mar 17, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    Okay, I guess I just didn't realize just how bad their night vision is!
    They have been doing great about going in the coop since they moved out there almost 2 months ago. The EEs go to bed first, and the others follow a little later. [​IMG] They all roam our yard and this is the first they hadn't been in by dusk--hopefully I don't have to reteach them.
    I did forget to lock them in 2 night ago, and then the next night they are on the railing...maybe they think they have the option now.

    Thanks for the replies!

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