Sudden reluctance to go outside

philyc

In the Brooder
Jan 5, 2016
87
12
43
Suffolk, UK
I have tried a search and can't find an answer but today my girls barely went out of their coop. The two leghorns ventured out in the morning to feed then went straight back inside. The two pekins stayed huddled inside all day and only went out when i opened the nest box to check inside.

Today was suddenly a bit colder then it has been, could this be the problem? Normally they are happy and spend most of the day outside.

Thanks all
 

ChickenCanoe

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Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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If the temperature change is dramatic, that can be it.
Could a dog or something else have harassed them yesterday?

I had a flock attacked by a beagle once and they wouldn't come out of the coop for a week and I didn't get eggs for 2 months.
 

fancychicklady

Chirping
6 Years
Dec 27, 2014
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0
87
Star Tannery, VA
I've only had chickens and ducks about a year but there are certain ones of mine that don't mind going out when it's cold and others look out and turn right back around. I can't say I blame them!!
 

philyc

In the Brooder
Jan 5, 2016
87
12
43
Suffolk, UK
No dramatic change in temp, just noticeably colder then it has been for a while.

They are in a completely enclosed run in a fenced garden. Although there are a few dogs in the area they are all strictly kept on leads because of where we are. My garden gate is also always closed just incase.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Something scared them.
Other preds?...don't y'all have a lot of fox over there? They can get over fences.
 

philyc

In the Brooder
Jan 5, 2016
87
12
43
Suffolk, UK
Not during the day really. And they get locked in a coop at night. Their coop is surrounded by a run, then a large garden fence. All is within the barbed wire of a military base. So ground predators are unlikely. The only thing i can think of is helicopters occasionally fly over the house but never low enough to scare i don't think.

Maybe they just don't like the damp/cold weather!
 
Last edited:

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Preds can hunt during day and get thru barbed wire...but sounds like a very busy environment so maybe not.
Do they have cover from rain when outside in run?
Could be something happened to spook them when you were gone.....assuming you work all day?
 

philyc

In the Brooder
Jan 5, 2016
87
12
43
Suffolk, UK
They have a decent amount of cover outside but probably not enough. It isn't actually raining though but the ground is wet from a lot of rain over the last month.

It is a busy place but the largest animal I've seen running around is a squirrel. Doesn't mean things aren't around though.

I work all day but am home for lunch. My wife is home all day with our daughter. So not really sure. Maybe they just don't like being wet or are still getting used to things.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to try and sort more shelter for them outside. Should i put another roosting area for them somewhere outside of their coop?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Getting used to things....are they new to you?

A roost in the run area is not a bad idea...keep it lower than the night roost in the coop tho.
Wet ground outside, try to divert runoff water from going into their area....
.....put some straw, hay, grass, leaves, ramial wood chips, twigs, etc...
......just a good mix of sizes, shapes, materials of organic matter to balance the mud/poop and wet.
 

philyc

In the Brooder
Jan 5, 2016
87
12
43
Suffolk, UK
they've only been with me this week. but were happily outside for the first 3-4 days, its just yesterday and today that its changed.

I will add some bits in over the weekend, their pen is all on grass, the highest point of the garden too, its just been a very wet december so the ground is sodden. i'll build something for them over the weekend, have parts from an old wardrobe and am also collecting some more old xmas trees which i can do something with.

cheers all!
 

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