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Our chickens hate their house!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jesubis, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    Some background: we have a divided coop, with four chickens currently in the smaller side. We just put them out there about 2 weeks ago. Because we're dumb, we didn't lock them in the coop at first, just let them go out in the run as they pleased. They don't go into the coop/house on their own at night; they usually snuggle up in a pile in the outside corner of their pen. And boy, are they NOT happy when we put them in the house at night! They try to get back out and make very unhappy noises. The house is plenty large for them (they're still small and it comfortable fits six), it has roosts and a nesting box, and shavings on the bottom. What can we do to make them like their house again? Should we shut them in for a couple days? Add water and food? We have some more chicks (fourteen of them!) that we're going to be putting in the larger section of the coop/run in the next couple days, with a heat lamp. Thanks to the advice I've found on these forums, we're planning on shutting them in for the first couple days so they get used to the coop as "home." Is there anything else we should do to make sure that they're comfortable?
     
  2. Grain Gypsy

    Grain Gypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do they do at night when you put them in the hen house? Do they use their roost(s) when you force them in for the night?

    When we transitioned our chicks from brooder to coop we shut them up in the coop with their food and water for two weeks. They transitioned at Christmastime, so we put the heat lamp out there for a couple of weeks to help them with their transition, too. I found that they would not roost (I would go check them after dark) until we cut the heat lamp completely and it was dark in the coop. Then, without fail, I would go out and check them and they'd all be on the roosts huddled together sleeping by dark. I let them have a couple more days without the lamp to get used to the whole roosting thing before letting them out to free-range during the day. They then, without fail, returned to roost by sundown every night, save for the exception of our Polishes bangs getting in their way and them having a hard time finding their way back to the coop by sundown. They were always waiting for us the next day outside the coop door. LOL!

    I don't think a good week inside the coop is going to hurt your girls if you can give them access to food and water inside the coop. They WILL complain, but they will figure it out. Sleeping outside on the ground is just not safe for them in the long run.

    One other thing you might want to check for is predators or pests in their coop. I've read that chickens HATE and know when there is something there that shouldn't be there, like a mouse, rat or snake. I kind of guess that your issue is more of them not understanding that the coop is home sweet home, but it probably wouldn't hurt to double-check for intruders, too. I hope this helps! Keep us updated.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. Grain Gypsy

    Grain Gypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By the way, Jesubis...[​IMG]!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    We don't typically go out there after dark once they're in for the night since the coop is about 100 feet from our house. One morning one of them was on the roost when we let them out, but I'm not sure other than that; they loved the dowel roost we had in their brooder. I think the roosts in the coop are just too high/big for them still (they're about six or seven weeks old). Typically, they're snuggled up by the door when we go out there in the morning. There's definitely no predators or pests in the coop; we went over it with a fine-tooth comb when we put them in there, and that thing is Fort Knox now. I'm thinking we'll shut them into their coop when we put the littles out there for four or five days, and see if that helps. It'll be pretty easy to put their feeder and waterer in there, although they will not be happy!

    And thank you for the welcome :) Love these forums!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    (Also, we always make sure they're inside for the night. No way would we let them sleep on the ground!)
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Grain Gypsy

    Grain Gypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, sorry! LOL. I misunderstood about where they were sleeping, I guess.

    One resource you might find helpful if you are a new chicken keeper is The My Pet Chicken Handbook. I did. I call it our chicken bible. I was going to look in the part I remembered reading about transitioning to the coop, but I'm too lazy to get off my rear right now and go look for it. Here is a link to Amazon with a book description and picture. http://www.amazon.com/My-Pet-Chicke...7&sr=8-1&keywords=The+My+pet+Chicken+Handbook It's a fun and entertaining read while being VERY educational and practical at the same time. My 13-year-old is actually the chicken pioneer in the family and she read it before I got my hands on it. We constantly refer back to it when we have questions.

    If we can't find answers there, then we go to blogs like The Chicken Chick, Fresh Eggs Daily, and, of course, here to backyardchickens.com! Chickens are fascinating and fun creatures, and I just can't get enough of their antics and the stories and pictures other people share. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you!!
     
  8. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    Success! We moved their feeder and waterer in there, and when I went out there last night they were already inside! Hooray!
     
  9. Grain Gypsy

    Grain Gypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. jesubis

    jesubis Out Of The Brooder

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    Granted, they were snuggled up in the corner between their waterer and the door instead of up on the roosts, but they were inside! We've got the younger batch in the big side of the coop right now, and when we let them out to start exploring their run this weekend I'll move the feeder and waterer back outside.
     

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