Scared chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Beverfly, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. Beverfly

    Beverfly In the Brooder

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    My dozen eight-week-olds have been outside in their coop/run for a week now and normally are scattered around, calm and content. I’ve been warned about predators in the area by other chicken keepers, so I’ve been only letting them into the covered run when someone is home, and at various times of day. Today they were outside all day until just before dusk. When I went out, they were all gathered at one end of the run, and were making a lot of noise. I’m guessing there was a predator around, and when I went into the run they all clustered around me. When I put them into the coop for the night, they crowded into a single nest box on the same end of the coop. At last count there are eight in that box. I thought even with a predator around they would calm down inside the coop a little, but since they are nervous now I’m nervous. I poked through the bedding looking for rats or snakes. Now I’m sitting at the window watching and listening with the yard lights on. The camera inside the coop shows that they are still in the box two hours later, although they aren’t making so much noise. I don’t know what else I can do to help them relax. Suggestions?
     

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  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I would go get them out of that nesting box asap, someone is likely to smother and/or overheat.
    Block off the nesting boxes so they don't have access.

    Is the coop secure from predators?
    Do you have photos of your outside run too?
     
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  3. Beverfly

    Beverfly In the Brooder

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    Here’s a picture of the coop. All gaps are closed up and it’s up off the ground, so the only way I could see something getting inside would be through the run door while the birds are out. Nothing has tried digging under yet but I’ll be putting a skirt around it this weekend.
     

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  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Youngsters can get spooked easily. Could be something came around and scared them, the only way to know is if you had cameras when you're not there.

    I would still close off the nesting boxes until they come into lay.
     
    aart likes this.
  5. Julesstarohio56

    Julesstarohio56 Chirping

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    Mine, same age as yours, were great in the run the night we finally got the coop ready. At dusk they huddled in the corner scared and chirping like crazy. We went to gather them and not one ran. We picked up 15 chicks without a struggle, placed them on the roost In their coop and they were scared for a bit longer, but settled down and began exploring. I think for mine, it was being outdoors at dusk. They didn’t feel safe. I don’t know if yours are out at dusk most nights, so that’s an incomplete comparison. Of course, mine are not going out to the run for a week to train them where home is. I hope you find your chicks are nice and safe. I’m having a blast watching them and are so glad the are OUT of my basement!
     

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  6. Beverfly

    Beverfly In the Brooder

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    They look like happy kids. The roost in the house is too high for them, something else I’ll be fixing this weekend! This was the first time they had been out at dusk, I was wondering if they would figure out that it was nicer inside but so far no. Once I have the skirt finished we will get on a more normal outside schedule.
     
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  7. Julesstarohio56

    Julesstarohio56 Chirping

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    Well, they didn’t stay on that roost long that night. Too scared to move for a minute. Made for a perfect picture, though. I made the poop board and roost short enough for the poop to not have a long way to drop (accuracy) and for ease of cleaning since I’m short. They are very happy now. Happy cooping!
     
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  8. SurferchickinSB

    SurferchickinSB Crowing

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    I would guess that you have mice or rats around.
     
  9. Beverfly

    Beverfly In the Brooder

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    I blocked off the nest boxes (thanks for that recommendation) and tonight when they got antsy I lured about half of them inside by sitting at the person door. The other half crowded into the run UNDER the coop by my feet, so I gave up and put them inside again. They huddled in the corner next to that nest box still but at least no one was being crushed. I got the two biggest to sit on a perch and they looked pretty happy. The coop cam shows them still in the corner but more relaxed. Maybe I should just put them inside earlier.
     

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  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    Sometimes there's a few that need to be physically put inside for a few nights, they will learn where they need to be when it's starting to get dark.
     
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