Trying to break the habit of roosting outside...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lil Mucket, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Lil Mucket

    Lil Mucket Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    WA
    About a month ago stupid negligent me had left the coop door open and a predator came and killed a couple of my chickens [​IMG] I had 5, so then I ended up with 3. Ever since then, the remaining 3 will not go in the coop to roost. We have to go find them every single night when I let them out and pluck them from their trees and I'm getting sick of it. It often ends up being a family affair, since the chickens are more likely to allow themselves to be picked up by the kids if they are so high up we have to knock them out of the tree instead of picking them up.

    I've locked them in the coop for 3-4 days straight. Also, I bought some new hens and during the isolation period I gave them alternating days outside so for weeks on end, the chickens were locked up every other day. But they still insist on roosting outside when I let them out for the day.

    So now I've combined all the chickens. The new chickens hang around the coop in the evening and then just go in there when they see me coming (it's like they are waiting for the older hens to show up before they can roost) but we're still having to go get the other hens. Last night I decided to just lock them all in there for a week. But I thought I'd check here first. Is there something I'm missing? They roosted in the coop just fine before this happened... automatic feeders and waterers and the coop is quite well ventilated. Though our temps have not been hot here, we've been ranging in the 60s and 70s mostly this summer with a few days in the 80s, so I don't think it's temperatures.

    So, will a week in lock-down help? Or can i try something different? I'm at a loss.
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Bring them tasty treats at night to lure them into the coop until they replace the bad habit with a good one. What is their favorite? Use that. (Not a lot, just enough to get them to go in.) Start by thowing some on the ground near coop, then toss the treat inside and shut door.
     
  3. Lil Mucket

    Lil Mucket Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    WA
    Quote:Yeah, tried that, hard to get them all in there at once. It's like they know what I'm up to and try to grab and run [​IMG] Maybe if I started earlier in the evening that might work before they have their minds set on roosting.
     
  4. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If the predator went into the coop, they probably associate the coop with danger now. I wonder if moving it to a different place would help - just a thought.



    http://muckycluckers.blogspot.com/
     
  5. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Up the anti. Get some mealworms and a bright-color container. Go out there making very excited food noises "Look, Look, Look" or "Here chickie, chickie, chickie" whatever you use. Let someone have one just outside the coop to get their attention. Then if your coop is large enough, go inside and drop another one, still making silly noises to keep their attention. (If you aren't looking silly, you aren't doing it correctly.)

    Give them mealworms like that for three nights running, then, use same container and same silly animated calling routine with whatever treat you want to give them each night with the same process. Use mealworms again about a week later to reinforce the possibility of mealworms again and they should be hooked.

    If they are not hooked, begin looking for anything inside the coop which may be causing problems for the hens. This might include mice inside the coop at night, or mites in the coop feeding on the birds as they roost, or the same predator who ate their friends returning and sniffing around the coop at night to see if there is an open door. (You could also look for these things before you try the above.)

    If your predator is returning frequently to the scene of the crime, you need to try and trap it or put up an electric fence to keep it from sniffing around and scratching around the coop and scaring the birds inside.
     
  6. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    You could stop letting them free range for a period of time. Sucks, but it'll retrain them that coop is HOME.
     

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