Pullets spend a lot of time in the coop

ejtalbert

Songster
May 8, 2020
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113
101
We have 5 10-week old pullets, a coop made for 6-8 chickens (so naturally it fits up to 6), and our the chickens just can't get enough of it! It has been beautiful weather lately, and all they want to do is kick around in the pine shavings in the poop drawer. They have a coop built into the run, as well as a 50sq ft fenced in yard with a roost, but they don't seem to want to peck around. I even put their food out to see if that would encourage them to explore.
We used to let them free range, but we made a yard just for them so that they would stop eating all of our flowers and, inconveniently, spending time under our deck.
I would feel bad completely blocking off their access during the day, with summer approaching and all.

Does anyone have some advice?
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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How long has this been going on? You could just wait a few weeks and see if it changes--it doesn't sound like a big health or safety issue at the present.

Do they have shade in their run? You say they used to hang out under the deck, which would of course be a shady space.

You say they spend lots of time digging through the shavings: maybe they are finding something tasty to eat there? You could make sure there are things to dig/eat in the run. Maybe build a compost pile there, as chickens usually love to tear them down again :)

Is there anything that would scare them when they are in the run? (Hawk flying overhead, dog running up and barking, etc.) They might feel safer in the coop.
 

ejtalbert

Songster
May 8, 2020
136
113
101
How long has this been going on? You could just wait a few weeks and see if it changes--it doesn't sound like a big health or safety issue at the present.

Do they have shade in their run? You say they used to hang out under the deck, which would of course be a shady space.

You say they spend lots of time digging through the shavings: maybe they are finding something tasty to eat there? You could make sure there are things to dig/eat in the run. Maybe build a compost pile there, as chickens usually love to tear them down again :)

Is there anything that would scare them when they are in the run? (Hawk flying overhead, dog running up and barking, etc.) They might feel safer in the coop.
It has been going on ever since they were put in the coop (about 4 weeks ago).

I suppose a compost pile would be a great idea! We were considering sand in certain spots for them to take dust baths in, as they always seem to like that.

They do have shade in their run, we often hang the nesting box door open for extra shade. (their access to the boxes are blocked at the moment due to their habit of sleeping there) But, the deck is a bit of a deeper shade and is definitely more interesting! :wee

Finally, we have hawks around where we live, but I have never seen one spying on our pullets. BUT we do have a neighbor that has a tiny chiwawa in their fenced in yard. I am sure you can imaging the yips it makes, but it doesn't seem to bother them, and the dog is not constantly outside.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,029
11,506
596
USA
Well, you've got me completely stumped.

It seems obvious that they're spending time inside because they like to be there, but I cannot think why that is so!

They do know how to go in and out, right? (I'm thinking they were living there and going out to range, then going back in at night, before you built the run.)
 

ejtalbert

Songster
May 8, 2020
136
113
101
Well, you've got me completely stumped.

It seems obvious that they're spending time inside because they like to be there, but I cannot think why that is so!

They do know how to go in and out, right? (I'm thinking they were living there and going out to range, then going back in at night, before you built the run.)
Definitely, only sometimes they run along the wired part of the coop for a bit, looking for a door-- they eventually find it. :clap
 

ejtalbert

Songster
May 8, 2020
136
113
101
Post some pics of your coop and run.
They might need some 'clutter' in the run to intrigue and shelter them.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
IMG_9304.JPG
IMG_9302.JPG
 

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