Not sick or injured, but chicks suddenly afraid of chicken house ..

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ShelleyT, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. ShelleyT

    ShelleyT New Egg

    Jul 5, 2011
    My daughter has 5 chicks, all around 3 - 4 months old. They have a great coop with a nice little elevated house they have always loved, and have lived there since we got them as babies. We clean out and replace the bedding in their house every couple of weeks. Since the last time we did this, they have avoided their house completely. Even at night, choosing to roost huddled together on this very top roosting pole we added a few weeks ago. It's pouring down rain right now, and they still won't go inside. Any solution? All advice and ideas appreciated!

    Here's their domain --
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Quote:Hi and welcome to [​IMG] sounds like maybe they have been frightened by something. have you gone into the coop and searched around for snakes or mice? I use deep litter and I have had blk snakes get under the shaving and only when I would be turning the litter did I find them. Or maybe something came around at night and freaked them out, if you want them in their house you might have to wait till after dark and physically put them there. is there hard ware cloth across the windows in the coop? could something have put it's arm through the window and tried to snatch one of them? I hope you can figure it out.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  3. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    I agree with Ms. Lydia - it sounds like something is in there that is scaring them. The other big reason birds avoid their coop/roost is if their housing is infested with mites, but your coop looks brand new and your birds are young, so I'm thinking that isn't the problem here.
    You could hang a trail camera out there and see what critters it gets a pic of.
  4. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Could there be something wrong with the new bedding?
    Does is smell funny or anything?

    Did you change to a new type of bedding - like from wood shavings to straw?

    EDITED TO ADD: I love your set-up. Nice looking coop and run.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  5. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    I agree with the last two posts.

    If it's not a snake or rat, did you put the bedding in thicker this time? Or are you using a different kind of bedding?

    I had this happen to me where one hen refused to go into the house. I had swapped out an old upside down flower pot for a large 6 by 6 piece of timber inside the house. (I have this in there for my big Jersey Giant to use to get up to the roosting bar more easily.) But she clearly wanted her old flower pot back. She wanted nothing to do with that log.

    You might think the change is nothing or minor but the smallest things can rock their worlds.
  6. ShelleyT

    ShelleyT New Egg

    Jul 5, 2011
    Thank you all so much for your input!

    I pretty much figured what y'all have suggested ...
    To check out that nothing is in their house, I looked carefully (we designed it so that we can unlatch and actually raise the lid (hutch roof) for cleaning and egg gathering) but nothing looks amiss. The bedding is the same we have been using -- a layer of wood shavings with straw on top.

    One thing I didn't mention -- day before yesterday my husband mowed, and that DID get them inside - they really hate the lawn mower. I thought to myself, well ... that's over. But, no ... still roosting outside. I was waiting for a good rain and sure enough got it today. But they are huddled in a corner of the coop *under* the narrow eave of their house. SIGH

    The ONE thing I'm thinking may have spooked them -- hubby used his shop vac to suck everything out of there before putting clean in. Although it's not the first time he's done this, maybe that shook them up too much.

    Thanks for the nice comments on our coop - it was a family project.. and thanks for your continued suggestions, I'm so glad I found you!
  7. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    I had one afraid to go in last night but she'd been sleeping on the floor so I am assuming lice or mites were bothering her.
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It also may be too hot in there, depending where you live, or simply cooler outdoors. Chickens don't tolerate heat well.

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