Why Have My Chickens Stopped Going into Their Henhouse

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cbecarol, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. cbecarol

    cbecarol New Egg

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    Please help! I have The Garden Coop for my roo and 4 ladies. All summer they went into the henhouse at night, all by their little selves. Two weeks ago I realized my roo was frostbit. I could not figure out why as their henhouse is insulated. Low and behold they stopped going in at night and there they are, in the run, up on a perch. I tried cleaning out the henhouse, although it was not really all that dirty. Still, they won't go in. I have grown tired of walking out every night in 20 degree weather to pick them up and shove them into the hen house.

    I have no idea what is going on. Any ideas?
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I would lock them up for a day or two and not give them anything to sleep on outside to reinforce the idea that they are supposed to sleep inside.
     
  3. Jipus5

    Jipus5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Something is going on at night I bet. All chickens prefer to roost where they feel safest...if they don't feel safe somewhere they wont go there right? I had a rat coming in a small hole last winter during the coldest times... didn't bother anything, just liked the straw and the heat light I bet. Still, instead of killing it or squawking... they just refused to go back in. Foxes, coons, wild hogs, bats, hawks, and owls are everywhere at night...but they stayed out! Finally when i realized what it was... by staying up late one Friday and sneaking out there...I saw the darn rat! Closed up the hole, caught the Rooster with a fishing net, put his butt in there in a small dog kennel on the ground, and the hens followed back in that night...they will go where he goes. No problems since! So check for some type of reason why they wouldn't want to be in there... must be feeling unsafe for some reason.
    J
     
  4. cbecarol

    cbecarol New Egg

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    Update: We had significant snowfall and I see no evidence of animal prints around the coop or trying to dig into it other than what appears to be lone rabbit tracks in the vicinity of the coop. The entire coop is wrapped with 1/4" welded wire buried 10" into the ground, so I am not sure how anything could get in. My latest theory is that they are too warm. Is it possible that they are too warm?

    Also, once I shove them into the hen house they will stay in for the night.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Where are you located?
    What kind of ventilation do you have in your coop?

    If you have significant snowfall, I can't imagine that they would be too warm, unless you have a heater in the coop.

    Humidity (lack of ventilation) when the temps are cold is the cause of frostbite.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    They could be too warm in the coop, or too moist. Do you have pictures of it?
     
  7. cbecarol

    cbecarol New Egg

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    Erie, PA, right on Lake Erie. Definitely times when we have moist winter weather. No heater in the coop with the exception of a 40 w. bulb that I use in the run to keep the water from freezing in one of those homemade water heaters made out of a cookie tin.

    This is the coop I built: www.thegardencoop.com/build-your-own-chicken-coop.html

    I wrap the coop in plastic, leaving the top open and a 1'ft strip on the back wall open. But the run is hardly air tight. The hen house is draft free with straw stuffed between the sloped roof and welded wire. There are gaps in the straw to allow for airflow. And I am sure there is airflow through the window. There is never any condensation on the window.

    I am at a loss. They know darn well that is where they are supposed to go at night.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How old are they and how long have you had them?

    I'd try out post number 2's suggestion, maybe they just need a reset.
     
  9. Jipus5

    Jipus5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to leave a metal dog kennel in front of my coop door all day, every day. Cause our Great pyrenees is an egg eater...so the chickens hop on it and go in the coop each night. But, some of my 4 month olds just sit there....wont GO IN! Drives me crazy... they can hop up on this 3 foot high kennel but wont jump down into the coop? Weirdos...I have to go toss each in most nights. Who knows.... if only chickens could talk!
     

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