Partying chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dbean1, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. dbean1

    dbean1 New Egg

    Jun 19, 2010
    For the past week or so it looks like our chickens (10 Buff Orpingtons) have been having nightly parties in their coop! They pull half of the hay out of the nesting boxes and knock all the pellets out of the feeder. They have access to an enclosed run, which admittedly is somewhat boring at this time of year since there aren't any bugs out and the grass has all died, but I toss out some grit regularly for them to scratch around for. I also take treats out nearly every day, which I try to vary. Most of the time it is leftover produce (salad greens, carrot peels, squash seeds and pulp, etc.), and sometimes it's oats, wheat berries, and raisins. I clean everything up, only to find it all a mess again! Any reason why they might be doing this?
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Just to watch you clean it up again [​IMG]

    Seriously, it's just something to do. I mean, they don't have the internet out there and you probably don't let them text their friends, so what else are they going to do all day?
  3. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2010

  4. Amyh

    Amyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2010
    North Carolina

    I've been spreading cracked corn, alfalfa hay and BOSS on the floor of the coop to keep them occupied. So far, so good...
  5. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2009
    You mean they do this during the night? Do you have lights on them? The only time mine stayed up at night was when I had a red light on in the coop a few times last year. They didn't like it. Mine are pretty serious about getting their beauty rest, they seem to prefer the dark and all is quiet now.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree, turn out the light. I hope you can, and it's not from a street light or something.
  7. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Could some other pest (like a rat) be making the mess at night? Chickens should be roosting and sleeping.

    Try throwing some broken pumpkins in the run, hang a head of cabbage, give them a flock block to keep them entertained.
  8. RainbowBirds_of_a_Feather

    RainbowBirds_of_a_Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2010

    When that happens, in my coop, I usually add enrichment items. This could be Leaves for them to mulch up, then use it for my plants. I usually put it in a huge wheel barrel, bus and all or even bringing buckets into the cage that are brimming with bugs! They will scratch around and have less interest in the nests. Even putting any leaves out in the run will deter them from the nest scratching, usually. In essence, it is showing them the right places to scratch.

    Another reason fro the nest material to be coming out, could be when they are preparing to lay. They are crouched in the nest and molding a depression out for which they will deposit an egg. Some hens will be very intense to where they chuck the material out on to the floor. If you have a roo, he often will coax the hen in with cooing sounds and do the same thing, make a depression. But this is just what I experienced.

    The food chucking, my hens do that too. I had to bring the trough, they feed out of, higher up so they have a harder time spilling their food out. But usually there is a hen that waits for that to happen and gobbles up the spills. Usually, I assume it as, they are picking out their favorite choices first then the rest later.
  9. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2010
    Quote:Which roo spiked the punch?!! [​IMG]
  10. dbean1

    dbean1 New Egg

    Jun 19, 2010
    Thanks for the feedback. They actually are sleeping at night, I just meant that they are partying when I wasn't looking. They definitely like to make a bare spot in the middle of the nests, all the way down to the wood. I kept adding more hay and grass, thinking their little fannies would get cold sitting right on the wood, but they just shove it all out of the way again. They're probably posting on some "BackYard People Forum" asking, "We keep getting our coop just the way we like it and our human comes in here every day and messes it up again. Why does she do that?" [​IMG]

    I'll try putting some leaf piles out there. I think they would like that. Especially since the ground is so hard right now. Thanks again!

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