Refusing to leave the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by QGolden, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. QGolden

    QGolden New Egg

    Jun 8, 2016
    I joined this group today to seek help with a problem that I have never run into before. I have kept chickens on and off for better then 30 years. After not having any for the last two years my Wife decided she wanted another flock. The old houses were converted sheds and she wanted something nice near the house, so I built a new Quaker Style Henhouse. It sets about 18 inches off the ground. It features a 4 by 12 outdoor run and the space under the house is accessible giving them a 4 by 20 total run.

    We got the Chicks (9 Orpingtons and 4 White Something's(supposed to be all Orpingtons...)) at a day old. We kept them in our house in a tote for two weeks and handled them quite a bit to socialize them. Moved them to the Henhouse at two weeks old and kept them locked in for another two weeks or so while I built the run and finished up the coop.

    At about 5 weeks old I was ready to let them out. At first about 4 of them launched right within an hour or so of opening the door. I moved the food/water outside and by the end of the day I had 6 out. I put the food inside at the end of the day and the next day a couple more came out when I opened the door and moved their food outside.

    By the end of the week all but 3 would come out each day and put themselves to bed each night.

    By the weekend I was tired of moving the food and water back and forth so I threw out the last 3 hens and locked them out for the day. That night two of them would not go in and I have to manually put them in. A few days later all would come out and go in each day.

    ...all that is but one...

    I have one White hen that simply refuses to go down the ramp. If I take her out, she will stay out all day and go to roost at the end of the day with the others, but she will not come out on her own. I stopped putting the food back inside two weeks ago. I have let her go two and a half days inside with no food nor water. I don't dare go longer than that. Every couple of days I can go in the henhouse, she scrambles about like I was gonna' do her in, but once I get her down the ramp, she is perfectly normal. Spends the day outside and goes back in at the end of the day, but the next morning she refuses to come out again and we repeat the process, its been near 3 weeks now.

    She spends all day at the window longingly overlooking the run and pacing.....gets visibly upset when we throw scratch down and she cannot get it.

    I have tried putting food on the ramp, she picks up what she can reach and no more. I am convinced that if I leave her alone she will starve to death or dehydrate. Probably the humane thing to do is to include her in Sunday dinner, but we really do not want to process chickens anymore, I have not done that in years. Any advise or ideas are welcome....

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Persevere - she will eventually get the idea. Evidently she will never be class valedictorian.
  3. Kaylin

    Kaylin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2016
    Big bend area Florida
    Maybe it's an eyesight issue?
  4. QGolden

    QGolden New Egg

    Jun 8, 2016
    Eyesight problem? Only if she can't see her way;) clear to get down the ramp! :/

    She can watch the others on the ground through the window. I guess at this point I leave her in there and let Darwin take its course! :rolleyes:

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