Terrified of their hen house

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by momto5ladies, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. momto5ladies

    momto5ladies Just Hatched

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    I have a total of five chickens. I started out with three not knowing anything about chicken math, and in after just a month I added two little girls. Thelma and Louise are just 8 weeks old and have their own coop and run. The problem I'm having is that at night they seem terrified to go into their house. They will sit there in the daytime and have no fears but at night they go wild. I'm trying to get them in between 9:30 and 10:30 so its not like I'm putting them in there to early I wouldn't think.

    They have been with me for two weeks so I would think that would be long enough to get into a routine??? Its hard to see them so upset every night. I no more than close the interior door to the house then they are pecking at the external door and peeping like crazy to get out. This doesn't seem normal, is it? Of course, I open the exterior door and try to comfort them but all they want me to do is hold them. I can actually feel them shaking. What should I do? I certainly don't want them upset like this every night. Any suggestions?

    I didn't have this problem with Itsy, Bitsy and Ziggy (my other girls).

    Thanks for your feedback.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How old are the first three? How big is your coop (feet by feet)? Are the first ones in there before the 8 week olds go in? What is your weather like? Is it possible that it's too hot in there? Is there adequate roost space for all of them? As much detail as you can give is helpful, and pictures if possible.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Yes more information is needed. It may be hot stuffy and dark in there. Make sure there's good ventilation and you can use a night light too so it isn't so scary. I would also put them away a bit sooner. Many times at dusk the inside of the coop is too dark and they are afraid to go in. Chickens have poor night vision.
     
  4. momto5ladies

    momto5ladies Just Hatched

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    My first three are in a separate coop. Ziggy is about 19 weeks and Itsy and Bitsy are about 14 weeks.

    Thelma and Louise are 8 weeks and since they are so young I have them in a coop in the garage. The size is about 4x12' and there's a huge hen house, the girls can get lost in there. There are two roosts with three nesting boxes. Later they will have their own coop, house and run.

    It's been in the 60s here so not too hot. I also make sure there's plenty of ventilation in the garage. I think they are physically comfortable. They just clearly don't want to be in their house at night. Thankfully, they do settle down after a short while. I just wish they didn't have to go thru this every night.
     
  5. momto5ladies

    momto5ladies Just Hatched

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    I bet your right, it is awfully dark in there. I'll try leaving the light on for them. It would still be dark in there but some light will get through the window. I had no idea they could be afraid of the dark. The poor things. Do they usually outgrow this?
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Thankfully They do. When we raise chicks ourselves they don't have a mother hen to follow and mirror her behaviors. My mama hens get the kids to bed early. Without a chicken mom you need to be the mom for a bit until they begin doing it themselves. They are just babies who need to be taught and guided. Than one day they just start doing it.
     
  7. momto5ladies

    momto5ladies Just Hatched

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    Its been three weeks now and Thelma and Louise are still terrified to go into their house at night. I've been leaving the light on all night but that hasn't helped. I spend time trying to comfort them each night to no avail. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong. Does anyone know what I should do? Its horrible seeing like this each night. Soon they will be going into their outdoor coop which is huge and will be even harder to get them inside at night. Please help.
     
  8. momto5ladies

    momto5ladies Just Hatched

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    I just put the girls into their hen house. This is heartbreaking. No animal should have to go through this everyday. Any suggestions? I should mention that these are the sweetest little chickens. They love coming up to me and sitting on my lap. They like being petted and are great pets. I just hate to see them so upset every night.
     
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I think they are too spoiled and want to be with their mama (you). Maybe you could have a light on timer, so it goes off about 20 minutes after they are put to bed. You could also try to have a radio playing softly - the sounds may comfort them and they won't feel so alone.
     
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  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Are you sure they are afraid? What behaviors are making you think this? Maybe a picture of their coop might help spot a trouble spot. Does it have a ramp they aren't familiar with using? Is it too stuffy?

    Remember they are still babies and it can take them up to 3-5 months of age to reliably put themselves to sleep. Just like human children who get tucked in by parents, chicks have some similar needs. Some also go through a teenager phase where they just don't want to go in and think they know better. So keep putting them in every night, don't feel bad because you are making them safe.

    Chickens will often squabble when going to roost, shifting and changing position on the roost, that's normal behavior too if you see that.
     

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