Roosting Outside of Coop at "Bedtime?"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by OrganicCowgirl, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. OrganicCowgirl

    OrganicCowgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    northeast of Houston, TX
    My flock has been dutifully returning to their coop each evening. I fill their water, close their door and let them out again in the morning.

    Yesterday morning, I had a dead pullet, a black splash cochin, when I went to let them out. That one always seemed weak, so I am not surprised.

    Two nights ago, DH saw a large snake in the barn, but not in the coop (coop is a converted horse stall).

    I don't know if either of those events had anything to do with it, but both last night and tonight, my older girls ( six 18 wk old RIRs and one BR) were roosting on our copper recycling barrel and the younger kids (2-3 month old chicks and poults) were all piled together in the grass near the barnyard fence.

    Another possible contributor is that they were locked in the coop 24/7 while I was out of town and had a neighbor feeding them once every day. But, they've come back in for at least week since I've been home, so I am not sure that's part of it.

    Any ideas on why they aren't returning to their coop or how to get them to do it? It's pretty tedious collecting 30-some birds each night and putting them each in the coop. [​IMG]
     
  2. chickenboy 101

    chickenboy 101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 11, 2008
    I think it comes natural. If you round them up in the coop every day they get used to it and should go in it. Probally if you give them a treat after you put them in a coop they might know their rewarded and automaticly go in it. What i do is at 9:00 or when it starts to get dark , when are chickens were little, we would put food in the coop they run over and eat a liitle and when it gets dark they roost and have some food for the morning! And if you have some chicks they kinda do what the big chickens do and they go in so try either way!
     
  3. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    In my 2 years raising chickens the ONLY reason they ever didn't go back in their coop at night was because of a predator or predator disturbance as they were starting to roost. In my area, it was either a possum, skunk, cat or dog. The chickies instinct is good! They may "know" something about your coop that you don't know...
     
  4. OrganicCowgirl

    OrganicCowgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2008
    northeast of Houston, TX
    That predator thing is something I wondered about, but that snake is nowhere to be found. Maybe it was in there at one point, though. It was too dark for DH to make out what kind it was, but it was about 5.5 to 6 feet.

    Also, I just saw on another thread that someone's girls weren't going to the coop when it got hot. Yesterday was our first hot day (upper 90s) after a reprieve (upper 80s). Perhaps they think it's too hot in there? There is a few degrees difference. I can throw a box fan in there to see what happens.

    Also, I can start throwing a treat in there, for sure. What would be good? I give them my would-be compost each morning, but don't want that messy stuff in the coop bedding. A little scratch, maybe? I'm currently using scratch out in the yard and pastures to encourage them to range a little farther, which is successful.
     
  5. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    I've got 2 girls out of 18 that refuse to sleep in the coop at night, they sleep on the roost outside too.
     

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