Silly birds prefer to be out at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Moriah, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Moriah

    Moriah In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2008
    Springfield Colorado
    If anyone has dealt with this please let me know what you did.

    I have 21 ameraucanas that are 16 weeks old. They have an 8x4 coop with three 4' roosts and one 2 1/2 roost. There are 2 250 watt heat lamps that can keep the temp in the high 20's low 30's when the wind chill is below 0.

    However, every evening my husband and I have to go out and physically place 8-12 of them into the coop as they are preferring to roost outside in their run, up on the horizontal roof supports. There is only netting along the side of the run under the tin roof. I have witnessed them sit there when it was blowing cold snow right onto them. They are all fluffed up and last night at ten degrees, when I picked them up they are warm. There are a couple of them that will run back out of the coop just as soon as I set them down. Some nights there is fighting over the roost space and other nights not much. When they were younger, they'd happily go in on their own. Not the case anymore. They do have access to food and water in the coop.

    So my questions would be....if they want to stay outside in very cold weather, will it hurt to let them. Predators aren't really an issue.
  2. chickorama

    chickorama Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    Our chickens always go in at sunset. I think it might be because we have a light in our chicken house. Do you?? If you don't, you should install one. It is a myth that it has to be a red light, we have just a plain bulb and it works fine.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  3. modenacart

    modenacart Songster

    Jan 21, 2008
    New Bern, NC
    I had to put mine in the coop for a couple of weeks, then after that they went in on their own.
  4. Moriah

    Moriah In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2008
    Springfield Colorado
    there are two heat lamps, so yes there is light at night. They had been doing just fine going in on their own, and once it got cold at night they quit going in. There isn't a high level of moisture or drafts, so Im not sure what gives.
  5. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    I have some that prefer to roost outside too. I have a tin roof and have buried wire and done everything I can to make it prediator proof so I don't worry about that. For the winter I have wrapped the run in plastic to keep the snow and wind out as much as possible. The only time I worry about them out is when it gets really cold (air temp as with the plastic there's no wind). Then I go and put them in. If they are coming back out right away you may have to shut the door and carry each one left out in or have someone open the door and watch the others as you chase the remaining ones in.
  6. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Our gang did the "roosting outdoors" thing last year. They are in a secure, pred-proof cattle panel hoop run so I just let them be.


    They'd be out on the outdoor roost whether it was in the single digits or colder. They'd be fine the next day so I didn't really worry about them. The outdoor roost is a 1" x 6" board so I knew they were keeping their feet warm and the run is partially covered with a tarp so that they were also out of any weather.

    Well, I decided since they weren't using the coop at night, they didn't need the red rope light so I removed it. Guess what??? The first night that there was no lights in the coop they all went inside to roost and have been doing so ever since! Well, except for the night that I put the heat bulb over the waterer to keep the water from freezing (which didn't work).

  7. legacyln

    legacyln Songster

    Mar 18, 2008
    Jefferson City, MO
    Had a sortof similar problem with mine when I moved them from a brooder house to the henhouse. I was leaving the run open during the day so they would go to roost on top of the run-- NOT predator-safe of course! I carried them all in every night for over a month-- one night I was late getting out and couldn't find one. Next day found a pile of feathers nearby. [​IMG] Eventually they just started going directly into the house. What kind of roost do you have in your henhouse? Is it lower than the one they're using outside?? My outdoor roosts in the run are pretty low to the ground b/c I was concerned about night roosting outdoors. If you think that is the problem, you might try putting a really high roost inside and/or making it so they can't use the one outside, at least for the winter.

    btw I did recently start using a red heat lamp b/c of the cold temps. I gather eggs at night pretty often and they are just happy as little clams in there under the light.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Feed them in the coop just before sundown and they will get used to going in at night.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    My younger ones get evening treats inside the coop. I also have a red light bulb in a brooder lamp in the coop. For the most part they go in for the treats. Once in awhile I have one or two stragglers that I have to round up. I did the evening treats in the coop originally with my older birds and they go into the coop and onto their roosts every eve before dark.

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