Sleeping chickens outdoors

angela27

Chirping
Oct 26, 2016
40
18
74
Laidley
Does anyone here allow their chickens to sleep outside in the open? I used to be pretty fussy about mine, but I have a few stubborn chooks that won’t sleep where I want them to sleep. One insists on being in a tree, and it’s too hard to get her down once she’s up. So I’ve started leaving the stubborn ones just sleep where they like. But this evening it was raining...I tried to move them but they went straight back. Is it a super bad problem for them to sleep in the rain? Will they move if it gets too much?
 

Cacique500

Songster
6 Years
Jun 2, 2013
441
114
181
Atlanta, Georgia
Did you teach them where "home" is? Most folks will keep birds in the coop for a few days when they first go "outside" so they learn to roost there. If you're letting them sleep outside (voluntarily or not) it's only a matter of time before you find a pile of feathers and a missing bird.
 

angela27

Chirping
Oct 26, 2016
40
18
74
Laidley
Did you teach them where "home" is? Most folks will keep birds in the coop for a few days when they first go "outside" so they learn to roost there. If you're letting them sleep outside (voluntarily or not) it's only a matter of time before you find a pile of feathers and a missing bird.
I had to change the sleeping arrangements around 4-5 months ago. Most of the chickens worked it out within the first few nights, but these few just wouldn’t sleep there. I do have a couple of chickens that aren’t mine, that would come and sleep in my trees at night, maybe they were influenced by them? I moved them every night for weeks with no luck. One sleeps far too high in the tree for me to reach her. If I’m around before dark, I can grab her before she goes up, but if not, there’s not much choice but to leave her. So I just started leaving the others too.
I’m aware of the possibility of losing them to a predator, but I’m hoping the fact that we’re in town, plus that my whole yard lights up with censor lights, is enough to deter them.
The chickens are so insistent on sleeping there though, even when it’s raining! Is that okay for them?
 

Chelsa'sChicks

Songster
Aug 16, 2017
609
845
192
Rain shouldn't hurt them.. they have feathers to keep them warm. My chickens will go out and forage in the rain and no one gets sick.
Some birds are very stubborn. Also your chickens WILL watch and learn from others where and when to roost. Very much monkey see .. monkey do. It's hard to force change on them too lol once a routine is set
. I have young birds roosting about 5ft off the ground. After about 4wks of them watching my older birds flutter up step by step up the latter into the hay loft rafters to roost my young ones followed. I prefer them in the rafters anyway cause it's about 30ft up.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,094
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
... I have a few stubborn chooks that won’t sleep where I want them to sleep. One insists on being in a tree, and it’s too hard to get her down once she’s up. So I’ve started leaving the stubborn ones just sleep where they like. But this evening it was raining...I tried to move them but they went straight back. Is it a super bad problem for them to sleep in the rain? Will they move if it gets too much?
Chickens are descended from wild animals that originated in Malaysia, Thailand, India, the Philippines, and other areas of the world that has a Monsoon season. Adult chickens are very able to stand a lot of rain. I am curious about how high your stubborn chicken is roosting. My granny always said,

"There was never
a bronco that couldn't
be rode and there was
never a cowboy
who couldn't be thrown."

I think she saw that on a Burma Shave Commercial.
So just how high is your stubborn hen roosting?
 

Perris

Still learning
Premium member
Jan 28, 2018
1,734
6,741
397
Gower, Wales
I had one who started doing this after about a year roosting in the coop, and she was determined to do so whatever the weather. She chose a dense conifer and worked her way onto a branch inaccessible to me, about 7 feet up. After a couple of weeks I became more relaxed about it, and liked the idea of her doing what comes naturally. Gradually the rest of my small flock followed her, and I saw the positives - chiefly no need to shut them in, let them out, pooh pick the coop each day etc..
This continued for about 6 months, but everything changed in a week. Three who roosted on the same original branch were taken on one night overnight, two who roosted near the top of the tree were taken on different days in the subsequent days, apparently when they came down in the morning. I penned the last to try to retrain her to use the coop, but after a fortnight she escaped, and went straight back to roosting in the tree. When I stood guard at the tree at dusk, she went to another tree to roost. She was lost early in the morning 5 days later.
Roosting in trees seemed great while it lasted, but it might not last long. Those birds clearly preferred freedom, despite exposure to the weather and the risks (which they understood qua prey species; these were heritage breeds). And I can still see the positives of a free life, albeit short. But I'm not going to let my current flock do it if I can help it!
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,094
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
A light pole or rod with a short cross piece on top makes a very good roosting chicken catcher. Just gently poke the chicken you want to catch in front of its feet and when the roosting chicken transfers its weight to the x-piece at the top of the pole, gently and slowly lower the chicken to your level and it is yours. I use to have a collapsible or telescoping electric company hot stick for turning off and turning on power lines 28 feet in the air. I know that I have caught pullets and young stags 30 feet or more over my head.

 

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