The Coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Foothill Hens, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Foothill Hens

    Foothill Hens New Egg

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    Mar 9, 2013
    the Foothills
    Coop Haters

    My hens won't go into the coop to lay.
    Or to live, for that matter.
    I'm on my third flock of hens in this location, and unlike the previous two, they absolutely HATE their coop. It was thoroughly cleaned before moving in a new flock, and the new flock, like the others, was raised in our house until pretty tame and old enough to handle nights outdoors. They began life in the coop and its small attached pen, then in time were released free range like our other flocks. But these birds refused to return to the coop. With racoons and foxes in the area, I collected them one by one at night and put them away and shut them in until morning, because they wouldn't go in otherwise. I live in the foothills (5,200 elevation) and see snow three seasons a year, and yet they insisted on sleeping outside, piled together for warmth, clear into the winter, until it was so cold outside that they were turning blue in the combs and I said, "You idiots! Inside with you by force, then!" and locked them in for the duration of our very heavy snow season. They have a very small roofed pen attached to the coop, and that's where they were day and night until the nights reached well below zero and they finally consented to sleep indoors. Foolish things. During their lock-in time, they began laying, and that's been all well and good. But now it's spring, and while we still see snow on and off, it doesn't linger, and I'm ready to let them out. One problem: they refused to come back to the coop to lay the first day I let them out. As before, they want to sleep elsewhere. They must have laid their eggs somewhere out in the two acres of wooded land we live on, and that's no good - I can't collect them that way. If they won't go in to lay, what do I do? Keeping them locked in that little pen all year seems cruel. We've never had such an odd flock before.
     
  2. DeepFriedBacon

    DeepFriedBacon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 16, 2013
    NW Indiana
    Hang their food in the coop? Collect their eggs, or use another egg or two and put them in the nest box inside the coop. Feed them treats inside the coop too. That's about all I can say really...

    Odd chickens you got there. Or at least the head honcho is odd and the others are just following. Mine learned what the little blue container I sometimes bring out has in it(red worms) and they'll pretty much go anywhere I want them to.
     
  3. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    It may help if you post a few pictures of your coop. Does it have plenty of ventilation? Roosting bars, nesting boxes and bedding? They should instinctively go into the coop at dusk for safety and to roost. Something is amiss.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Foothill Hens

    Foothill Hens New Egg

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    Mar 9, 2013
    the Foothills
    Thanks for the reply; the coop is the only place I feed them, pellets or treats. Actually, they've decided the last couple days that they will go in to lay after all because one of our girls has suddenly decided to go broody, and somehow they don't mind going in to lay with her in there. Letting our five dogs run the woods and pester them also contributes, I think, to their deciding the best place to lay is the one place the dogs don't go. But they still won't go in at night. I'm having to collect them every evening and carry them reluctantly in, lock it, and let them out every morning. I guess I can put up with that extra chore, but winter will return one day.
     
  5. Foothill Hens

    Foothill Hens New Egg

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    Mar 9, 2013
    the Foothills
    Sorry, can't find the camera today. My coop has a window on the far side to give light but not directly on the laying boxes, which are elevated, and has perching bars that the last hens preferred and these never approach. The bedding is straw. As for ventilation, there's their little door, but as I mentioned, our weather is very cold nights until mid summer, so there aren't any extra openings that would create drafts. Do you think that matters?
     

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