Roosting in a tree


In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 1, 2012
I have 4 ~6mo buff orps who learned about 2 wks ago that they could fly over the 7' fence that makes up their run. I let them free range in the yard anyway but now they're out their whenever they want, not just when I let them out. At night they have been roosting on the top of the fence and in the small tree/shrub next to the run. What should I do as its getting chillier at night and I don't want them loose at night. Take them down and manually put them in the coop? I shouldn't let them stay out there loose all night, right?

Plus how do I make the nesting boxes appealing. I haven't gotten any eggs yet and I'm worried that perhaps they're laying somewhere in the hard or their run and I'm not finding the eggs?

Lastly, since they've been letting themselves out willy nilly they sometimes get harassed by my dogs. So far no ones been hurt and I don't let them out together unsupervised, but could the dogs be stressing the hens out of laying? When they're in their run the dogs don't pay them any attention, but loose the chickens are fun to chase. :-/

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The best suggestion I can offer is to cover your run. This will enable you to resume control of when they are out and when they are not, and, if they are laying somewhere while they are out, if you keep them confined for a few days, they'll learn to lay in the nest boxes for you.
I first started getting eggs in the nook of a tree. Wasn't too long after I found Red's stash of eggs that I started work on my current coop. Lock them in the coop for a week straight when they start laying so they know where "home" is and they know where to lay. Free-ranging can wait for a little while until they are trained in what you expect of them.
Good idea that HEChicken has mentioned about covering your run to take back control of your flock. You also have the option of clipping their wings. If they free range a lot while you are not there to observe then safety would be a concern. If you have not, now is the time to add either a ceramic or plastic egg to those nesting boxes. It sort of lets them know where to lay.

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