To block or not to block!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by melissathib, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. melissathib

    melissathib Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    DeRidder, Louisiana
    As you can see in the picture below, our coop is on a sled. Since it is incredibly hot right now in Louisiana (heat index over 100 most days), my chickens spend a lot of time under there to escape the heat. I have a shade cloth over one corner of the run, but it isn't shady until noon and after. All of my chickens are around 8 - 10 weeks old and so haven't started laying. I'm afraid they may start laying under there, when it's time, instead of going inside the coop to their nesting boxes. Should I block access and force them inside the coop, or are they fine until they start laying? I am leaving the little chicken door and the people door open on the coop during the day, and there is a fan inside the coop. They just seem to prefer being underneath! Advice is very welcome!

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  2. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2016
    Oklahoma
    Put a couple of fake eggs in your nesting box so they will know where they are expected to lay.
     
  3. melissathib

    melissathib Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    DeRidder, Louisiana
    Should I block access to the area under the coop and force them to take refuge from the heat inside the coop?
     
  4. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2016
    Oklahoma
    I wouldn't .... ours all go under the coop like that when it is raining, etc. ... think they feel safe under there. They used to all go under there and sit together like it was their patio. Might not be a bad idea to throw a tarp over part of your run (if has rivets, those little bungie cords work well for holding it on). If don't want to put the tarp on top, could put it on the side where the afternoon sun hits.

    Also, Home Depot and others sell plastic standing misters for around $12 that you can hook up to a hose ... which I turn on when it gets pretty hot out. At first they hated it, but now they actually walk into it to get cool.

    You have a very nice set up ... love your coop and run.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  5. melissathib

    melissathib Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    DeRidder, Louisiana
    Thanks for the information! You can't tell from the picture, but the back left-hand corner (when facing the coop) has a shade cloth over it with mint planted under and a water pan that they can stand in. I usually go out just after noon and put ice in it to help cool it off even more. They already recognize the sound of the ice against the metal bowl! But, I love the idea of a mister! I'll definitely check into that.

    And in the meantime, I'll let them keep their hangout!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Can't really see sled..and can't see a shade cloth....but absolutely do not block under the coop, looks like the only decent deep shade they have.
    Ice works good just dumped on the ground in deep shade....not sure a mister would do much good in humid LA.
     
  7. melissathib

    melissathib Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    DeRidder, Louisiana
    Yeah, I realized that after I uploaded the picture. But under the coop or inside is the only deep shade. I was just worried they wouldn't go inside to lay. I guess if it becomes an issue, I can always block or train then. And, it is humid, but a cool mist still feels better than that hot humidity! [​IMG]
     
  8. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2016
    Oklahoma
    It is hot and humid where we live and the cool mist helps cool it off. Haven't seen them panting like they used to do. At first ours didn't like the misters but they walk through it now cooling themselves off; they sometimes stand in it. The stand up plastic ones are easy to relocate and can be turned on its side (the mister part propped on a brick) if you want to lower the mist, which we sometimes do.

    We gave ours a bale of straw too, and flip it about once a month. There are usually quite a few bugs gathered under there after a month and they go crazy for that. Yes, we leave the wire on that holds the bale together and have done this for over a year now. They have never gotten hurt on it even though they do scratch at the straw. We first did it in winter and they eventually did tear it up (entertained them a long time - LOL), and when spring arrived we raked it up and took it out. Put another bale in there and they did not tear up the second one but do jump on it quite a bit.

    Also have a few small crates and an old plastic chair that they sit on, sit on the arms, and lay under (we had to put a small crate in front of it to keep the rare, occasional wind from blowing it over). We used a wheelbarrow to dump a mixture of sand and dirt for a dirt bath, letting them level it. Of course they still dig their own bathing areas too.

    We give them watermelon sometimes and none of this is put near the coop, further encouraging them to appreciate their run.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  9. melissathib

    melissathib Out Of The Brooder

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    May 21, 2016
    DeRidder, Louisiana
    I have a couple of perches that we built from leftover wood and they seemed to enjoy the ramp leading into their coop so much that I built a ramp at the front of the run. It was so funny to watch them fight over it and slide down it before I put a few "steps" on it to help with stability. But, I love the idea of putting hay out there. I have some left from the bale I used for bedding. It's tied back up and in the barn. I'll put it out for them to have fun with!
     

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