some of my chickens are suddenly stupid, why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hildymarie, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. hildymarie

    hildymarie In the Brooder

    May 13, 2009
    da UP of Michigan
    In the last few days, when we go out to lock up the chickens there are 3 or 4 who milling around on the other side of the coop making distressed sounds and they are like they are lost or left behind. The rest are in the coop where there is light btw, (timer goes on before dark) They can be caught easily and picked up and put in with the rest of them where they are just fine. It's like they have forgotten how to go a few feet around the corner of the building and go in.
    They have had a light and all since it started to get dark earlier, so they should know where to go. Why are they now getting weird? Are they blind? Could there be something wrong we are missing? They are normal otherwise. Does the cold weather freeze up their tiny little brains?
    Is there something in their diet wrong? Do they need extra something to deal with the cold? Is there a disease they could have that would make them stupid? Should we make them go in sooner? That's like well, herding chickens. Entertaining to a spectator but no so much for the participants.
    They are still laying ok, we give them light from before dark so they can go in as it gets dark outside and get their few hours to make up for the change in light outside. I am worried, should I be? or am I just worrying too much. These are new chickens this year, the 'used' ones we had before these had gone thru a couple of winters and as such were survivors. They knew not to stay out in the cold. These ones I worry about.

  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Are they top knots?

    I had to trim some of the feathers of my polish girls because they could not see.
  3. hildymarie

    hildymarie In the Brooder

    May 13, 2009
    da UP of Michigan
    These are isa browns.
  4. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Songster

    Suddenly stupid? [​IMG] Most chickens I've had have been stupid their entire lives, nothing 'sudden' about it.
    Can your chickens see the light inside from outside where they are 'lost'? Chickens can't see well in the dark, so if it is darker where they are getting lost than it is inside the coop, it may be harder for them to find. The ones that are finding it okay maybe can see better in the dark or started inside before it got full dark.
    Either way, I would help them until they got it. Or maybe light the outside too so they can see better.
  5. streetglide

    streetglide In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2010
    Don't light outside too much! I made that mistake, nobody wanted to go inside! Then it was like you said, the entertaining to watch "Herd the chickens" so I could get to bed!
  6. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    they were always stupid you just didnt notice it till now [​IMG] I would go out a bit earlier and encourage them into the pen. Mine did that for a short time now they go in fine. You also could try giveing them a small amout of scrath or something at bed time to get them to go in. They are run by food.
  7. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Songster

    Sep 7, 2010
    If you can light earlier in the AM and not in the evening they may go to bed more naturally as daylight fades.

  8. jbrown_14105

    jbrown_14105 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    Quote:I agree, lighting in the morning before sunrise seems to work best for my chickens, and keeping them in abit after sunrise for the egg laying also seems best. Out too early and the eggs can be and have been found in the yard since they free range during the day.
    Evening feeding in the grass (abit) near the chicken coop also brings them home, gives them "scratch time" and ready to roost.
    Jim Brown
    Lockport NY
  9. cherylcohen

    cherylcohen The Omelet Ranch

    Sep 18, 2009
    SF East Bay CA
    Agreed...I just switched my lights a bit because I have some 2-3 months old "learning" what to do and where to go. I have the light switching off an hour before it starts getting dark and they go in get on the roosts, end of story. Really important not to have any other outside light, otherwise they will stay out there much later than you want them to

    Before that I had my timers switching the inside coop light off "after" dark and they all started honking and squawking so the gradual change to dark has suited my girls better.

    That said in my 6 week area I still have a night light to lead them in.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by