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Odd roosting choice in recently acquired hen...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JeffOeuf, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. JeffOeuf

    JeffOeuf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently acquired one black sex-link hen and one red sex-link hen. I'm trying to get them acclimated to the sole survivor of my original flock, which is a 7 month old Easter Egger. The new girls seem like they might be a little older, and since there are two of them, they're picking on the EE some. They've got it down to an acceptable level when free-ranging, but I'm reluctant to put them all in the coop together at night. So, the new girls have been sleeping on a roost in the fully enclosed run. But, the last few nights the red one has flown up into a cedar tree that is right beside the coop, instead of going into the run. I chase her out of the tree and herd her into the pen.

    I wouldn't care if she chose to roost in the tree, if it's safe, but I have my doubts. Raccoons will just climb up and take her out while she is sleeping, won't they? They don't seem to startle very easily when they're asleep. Also, I'm just about to the point where I would like to try putting them all in the coop at night, where they're both safe and protected from the weather.

    So, two questions, or rather one affirmation and one question. Am I right that roosting in the open, even if it is high up in a tree is not safe? And, what's the best way to bring the new girls into the coop, with the least amount of drama?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    You're right, they are not safe from predators on a tree branch, though it's probably safer than sleeping unprotected on the ground. There isn't a simple answer to how to integrate, though. Since they do all right during the day, it might work pretty well to set them on the roost just after dark -- and hope they won't really notice. Some people have used this successfully as a way of introducing a new bird. Keep in mind that, even in an established flock, it's usual for them to squabble a bit at dusk over favorite roosting spots.
     
  3. JeffOeuf

    JeffOeuf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I had thought of moving them into the roost after dark and think that might be the best way to start. Might give that a try tonight.
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    A few of my chickens didn't go into the coop at night, sleeping in a tree next to the run instead. I thought they'd be safe and left them to it, but one morning I went to open the coop and feed them and found a whole lot of feathers under the tree... Since then I've made sure my chickens are all cooped up at night, whether they like it or not.
     
  5. JeffOeuf

    JeffOeuf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for sharing that Sumi. Sorry it happened, and I will take your advice to heart.
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I learned that lesson the hard way! I was quite fond of the hen I lost that night. [​IMG] With chickens it's better to make an effort sometimes to make sure they are safe. They won't always thank you for it, but it's better than losing them!
     
  7. JeffOeuf

    JeffOeuf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean. We lost three without any sign of what happened at all. We had to be out of town and had friends come by and let the girls out in the morning and lock them up at night. The last day, when they came over to lock them up, only the EE was around. The others simply vanished. There's not a feather anywhere. I scoured the whole ten acres, and I can't find any sign of a struggle at all. So, from now on, they'll be confined to the run when we're not home...whether they like it or not.
     
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    We had some daytime predators that we were aware off, but they didn't bother the chickens until we started hatching chicks. They went crazy for the chicks and we lost quite a few. Ended up spending quite a lot on a special, predator proof chick pen to put them in. When they switched their attention to the hens we set a trap and caught a couple of them. It was grim, but it solved the problem. I wish I knew what took my hen from the tree though.
     
  9. JeffOeuf

    JeffOeuf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What was your daytime predator? I'm still trying to figure out what took my girls -- 3 at once -- without leaving a single feather behind.
     
  10. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Mongoose. We live in South Africa. Yours may have been a raccoon, I hear they like chickens. Dogs tend to kill and eat a chicken where they find it. Well, that was my experience anyway. [​IMG]
     

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