Roo sleeping outside!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Melbelle, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Melbelle

    Melbelle Just Hatched

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    I am new to chickens, and started with a stray rooster who moved into my yard and started sleeping on a 5 foot grape arbor. After a couple of months the nights started getting cold, he was still there, and is moderately friendly, so I bought a hen house, built a chicken run, and got a few hens. Everyone seems happy.

    Trouble is, he won't sleep in the hen house unless he is trapped in there. I close up the run at night, but I have only been able to get him in there once. That time I locked him in for 3 days, and in those days he slept in the lower level of the little hen house. Then I was cleaning out the house and he got out of the run and won't go back in! I don't mind them being out in general. As long as they head in at night the ladies can wander all over the property. Mr. Rooster won't do it though. He just spent a thunderstorm outside on a grape arbor. Yikes!

    Do I more assertively chase him in the run and lock him in for longer? Ignore him? Start catching him at night and shoving him in? (That one is not on my top 10 list of fun activities, FYI) For what it's worth, I'm in Idaho and it will probably start snowing within the next month.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    It can be very difficult to break a chicken from behaviours that have become habitual. Apart from repeatedly putting him in the coop every night, you may wish to try putting a low intensity flashlight in the coop just before dusk falls. This may encourage him to migrate to the coop (just turn it off, once he is in).
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    First, how big is the coop....in feet by feet?
    Pics would help.

    Oh, and Welcome to BYC!
     
  4. Melbelle

    Melbelle Just Hatched

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    I have not gotten around to taking a picture. Not enough time outside the past few days! I believe we made the run 6' x 20', and about 7' high. It is up against the side of a large shop, and three sides are open. The doorway is a little high. A friend who was helping with construction put the door frame about a foot off the ground. No looking a gift horse in the mouth - so I'm going to just drop it down when I have time. It's just an obstacle for everyone to come and go from. The hen house itself is tiny. I picked it up when I just had the rooster, and was indecisive about the whole thing. Of course he wouldn't go inside then either. It has two nest boxes and a small round perch that probably three hens could line up on, but I never see more than 2 in there. My need for a larger hen house is a topic for another day. :)
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The way to get the cockbird to sleep inside is to have a large enough coop to lock them all in there for a week or two.
    The high door is to keep deep bedding from falling out and/or impeding the door swing.
    Does the 6x20 run have a solid roof....a mesh roof??
    What is your climate/location?
     
  6. Naser

    Naser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you clip his wings "basically you cut the feathers with scissors" so he won't be able to fly, that will force him to sleep in lower places "unfortunately" recently I have done that to two roosters they used to roost 20 feet up in a tree, I wasn't upset with that, but the problem was they crow loud and early and the sound was far reaching, I didn't want to upset the neighbors "they are 200 yards away".
    If you don't want to cut the feathers you can tape them together with a sticky tape, mind you he will remove that unless the tape is very strong.
     
  7. Melbelle

    Melbelle Just Hatched

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    Coop has a mesh roof. I don't have deep bedding... perhaps it will get deeper over time. Right now it is dry dirt. I have heard good things about sand, and have enough wood shavings to cover it, though I don't see the purpose of a floor of wood shavings. Perhaps because they are outside so much it doesn't get too messy in there. I can just build a ramp instead of dropping the door. They make it in and out, but they really hesitate to do so.

    I had parrots and clipped their wings and hated it. I guess I'm just a sissy that way. He only roosts about 5 feet up, so I could theoretically catch him and stick him in the coop at night, but don't roosters get feisty if you do things like that?

    I think locking them all in there for a week or two would be okay. I had to lock the hens in for a bit - they moved in and started roosting in an apple tree. They picked it up after a couple of days and never tried to escape past me though! Haha. :)

    Does the coop need a roof? It seems like not a bad idea. I live in central Idaho. It will be around 20 degrees most of the winter and snow usually 2-4 inches at a time a handful of times. I thought a tarp-like roof would just get weighed down with the snow. It is up against a shop, so I could look into building a larger overhang on that side.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    A foot is nothing for a bird to jump...once they get used to it.
    Sand stinks....literally.....mixed dry plant matter(browns) is the best for 'eating' the poops.
    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992


    Having a solid roof would be good, especially if your coop is too small...but yes, it will have to handle the snow load.
    Even my 14ga 2x4 mesh roof catches snow at times and I have to keep it cleared off.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    My vote is to ignore the rooster and let him sleep wherever he wants.

    Decades ago, my first chickens were semi-wild bantams that roosted in the hedge adjacent to my bedroom window in spite of my providing them with a coop, which never, ever got used. A broody even avoided it when she hatched a clutch.

    Chickens can and do change behavior over time, so he may decide to roost under cover eventually. Don't hold your breath, though.

    As for roofing your run, a terrific and relative inexpensive material is fiberglass corrugated panels. They also are made of aluminum. This is what I use to roof my run, and they handle wind and snow load very well. In fact, if you situate the pitch adequately, the snow sheds of its own volition. Once you build the frame for the panels, they assemble and fasten very quickly.
     
  10. Melbelle

    Melbelle Just Hatched

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    Oh this is fantastic. Thanks for the help guys! We did a steel frame on the coop, so holding up some corrugated roofing should be easy enough. That sounds great. Also good to know she had a reason for hanging the door like that. I'll avoid messing with it.

    I'll try out the deep litter. Not having tried anything at all yet, I am stuck with reading online, and there are so many opinions! The video helps though, and that does make sense. I work full time, and regularly raking poop out of sand vs taking an afternoon off to do a thorough remix of litter - I already have a preference. :)

    If I did just let the rooster hang out and sleep wherever he wants... They do survive the wild, but snow on his head? Am I the only one who is going to be sad about that? I guess if I get a good roof on the coop and the food is in there he may learn to like it. I'm leaning toward locking him in for a week and then opening the door again and letting him do whatever he wants after that. Maybe after the roof is on so he sees the advantage.
     

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