Sleeping outside with a lone hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thefishery, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. thefishery

    thefishery Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2009
    Pretty much all summer long, none of my chickens would go in the coop to sleep at night.

    I tried locking them up at night but somehow someone has busted the coop door lose and they end up back outside on my husbands work bench.

    I have stopped feeding them (for the most part) anywhere other than in the coop.

    My flock free ranges our 1 acre yard. I do have a run but it isn't covered and if I attempt to put them in the run they just fly over it and leave to spend the night on the work bench yet again.

    Within the last couple of days, one of my hens has been sleeping on the railing of the front porch...all alone. Why on earth would she want to sleep on the front porch when all of the rest of the flock is sleeping out back on the work bench? During the day she free ranges with the rest of the flock. I don't know why she is singled out to sleep alone.

    With cooler weather on the way, I'm starting to get a little worried about my girls, and guys. I don't see them sleeping out in the cold on a metal work bench something that sounds fun at all.

    How can I get them in the coop at night? I mean, when it rains, they happily sit on that metal work bench getting wet. I need to fix the coop door for one thing. Would it help if I left the light on in the coop? I hate to do it but I've thought about cutting wings and locking them up in the run for a while so they can't get over the run and sit on the work bench. I hate the idea of doing that to them. But if I did that and left the coop light on, would it help? What causes this behavior? We did have a couple of floods this year and the coop floor flooded out. Would that keep them from wanting to go in there?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    After dark, round them up and put them in the coop. Then lock them in for several days. They need to be re-educated on where "home" is because they have no idea. I am somewhat surprised you haven't lost any to predation with them being unsecured at night, but that could change at any moment, so you need to get them settled back in their house.

    Good luck.
  3. DAFox

    DAFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    Cover your run. Deer netting is inexpensive in my area. 7' x 100' for $20. Fix the coop door. Then, one night -- round them up and put them in. Leave them in the coop/run for about a week. Then try free ranging again. I have one Roo that refuses to sleep in the coop. He sleeps on top of it, but it is in an enclosed run. One cool night, he was in the coop. I imagine he'll roost in the coop when it gets cold. Do check the one lone hen for illness or parasites. Sometimes, they try to be alone when something isn't right.
  4. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    Quote:X2 and reassess the coop. If you can't raise the coop raise the floor check the roost, are they going in to lay? And get the door fixed. If my girls were out over night I wouldn't expect to see any in the morning.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Two things to consider. 1) Ventilation - do they have enough. 2) Lighting - does coop get to dark for chickens to see before they have urge to roost.

    I have a few birds that insist on roosting separately from rest of flock. Sometimes loner is visually impaired. Otherwise they may simply feel safer in another location owing to prior experience. Is loner getting ready to set a clutch of eggs?
  6. thefishery

    thefishery Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2009
    Thanks for the advice. I'll check into the deer netting. My run is very large so it's going to be a chore.

    The coop the coop is possibly too dark before they go to roost. I'm going to hook up the timer to the light and see if that helps. I never thought about that. The ventilation should be alright but we'll look in to that.

    My dog sleeps out with the chickens so if anything was to come in she would run them off first I would assume. I am shocked we haven't lost any. I guess we've got a good watch dog.

    As for the lone hen, I've looked her over and she seems healthy. I don't see any signs of parasites. Her eyes are clear and her comb is nice and red. She's missing some feathers, I think one of the roosters are getting a little rough with her. We plan on butchering a couple roosters tomorrow. Hopefully she's just trying to get away from the roos.

    Thanks so much for the suggestions.

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