Strange Chicken Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jlisonbee, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. jlisonbee

    jlisonbee Just Hatched

    8
    0
    10
    Jan 29, 2017
    Utah
    Hello Everyone,

    I have a question about some of my hens behavior recently and wanted to hear everyone's opinion and suggestions about it. I appreciate any advice!

    I have 4 hens right now and two of them are starting to roost/sleep on top of the coop instead of inside the coop at night. The coop is very secure inside of the run so I am not worried about predators getting to them at night, just worried about the cold. We are in Utah where it is cold, especially at night being in the low teens. I started to pick them up and put the inside the coop myself and they did not like this at all, so the last week or so I have left them out where they seem to be happy on top of the coop. The other two hens did this as well the other night but have now started to go back into the coop. I am wondering if this is normal behavior? Is there something wrong going on in the inside of the coop they don't like? There are plenty of roosts and lots of room in there. Anyone have any thoughts or have experienced the same behavior? Should I just let them be chickens and sleep where they want as long as they are safe?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    How is the air in the coop?
    Chickens like fresh air.

    I have a friend with a beautiful clean and airy coop. Her chickens have opted to sleep on a roost in the run every night for 3 years, summer, winter, stormy weather, etc..
     
  3. jlisonbee

    jlisonbee Just Hatched

    8
    0
    10
    Jan 29, 2017
    Utah
    Thank you for your reply. The air is fresh and very well ventilated. I keep the small coop I have as clean and dry as I can.
     
  4. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

    531
    107
    111
    Nov 21, 2015
    Montana
    Do you have more than one roost inside the coop? If not, maybe the dominant chickens are kicking the others out? I've got two roosts in my coop (each roost is 6 feet long) so there's plenty of room, but they squabble anyway.
     
  5. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

    531
    107
    111
    Nov 21, 2015
    Montana
    Just reread your post and saw you mentioned having multiple roosts, so that's not the problem.
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,897
    1,086
    243
    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Do you have a light outside the coop. If so, it may be that they stay out longer and then don't want to go into the dark coop.
    It would also help to see a phtot of your set up. Some of the little prefabricated coops that are sold to accommodate 4 chickens are barely big enough for 2 and as chicks get bigger and older, pecking order issues come into play and that may be the issue here...and some breeds of chickens get on better than others, so it may be an integration issue. I would not leave them out regardless of how good you think your security is or how much they protest. It is probably quite important that they learn to be handled so if that is their issue, it will do them good to get used to being moved. If it is just that there is a commotion when you put them inside, then that is reasonably normal arguing over best roost spots. However if the coop is small then perhaps there is a risk of real fighting and injury. If you get cold wet weather and those on the roof are left out in it, there is a risk of them getting sodden and chilled.
     
  7. jlisonbee

    jlisonbee Just Hatched

    8
    0
    10
    Jan 29, 2017
    Utah
    Hi, thank you for your response. Helps me to really think about my set up. I will post some pictures of my setup when I get home so you can get a better look. The two hens that are sleeping outside are the ones at the top of the pecking order! It started with the queen of the run and she was just outside herself and then the second one joined her later on. They used to all 4 snuggle up inside together and have done this for months now, and then just a few weeks ago these changes started happening. They are all usually okay with me touching and holding them and they will jump in my lap all the time, they just get really upset when I put them back inside the coop, it doesn't seem like it is me touching them that is making them upset, it is them having to go back in the coop! All of them have gotten along pretty good, with no injuries or any other serious bullying about, but maybe something is going on that my human eyes can't see.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    To further the point rebrascora made.
    Every manufactured coop I've seen over exaggerated the number of birds they can house.
    One should check interior floor space and if it doesn't contain at least 4 sq. ft. per bird for recommended stocking density, it is undersized.

    Many people have a secure covered run the coop is contained within. If that's not the case, then they probably aren't safe.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,699
    6,823
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Pics and dimensions of inside of coop and roosts would help spot a reason for this 'probably not' strange behavior.
    Pics of overall coop and run too.
     
  10. jlisonbee

    jlisonbee Just Hatched

    8
    0
    10
    Jan 29, 2017
    Utah
    Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give me suggestions and advice. Here are some pics of the run and coop to get a better idea. The run is a 20ft x 10ft space. The coop itself is 75 in x 35. The inside of the coop where the roots and nest are is 30x30.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by