Why Oh Why Are They Doing This?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Laurajean, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I wasn't sure if I should post this in the raising chicks section or here, but decided it was more behavior oriented. My chicks are about 40 days old, and still in the brooder in the house, which is a very large cardboard box. Their latest thing is to peck at the cardboard walls with their beaks, which now that they are getting bigger, makes a LOUD knocking sound. Sounds exactly like a person knocking at my door. And they do this over and over and over again, for hours and usually during the wee hours of the morning when I am *trying* to sleep!

    I live in a tiny house, and they are in the room next to where I sleep. There's no better place to put them. But I am losing sleep big time and they are absolutely driving me nuts. knock knock knock, all night long. I've done everything from ignore them to check on them to shoosh them (which works great.... for about 10 seconds), and they aren't short on water, food, cleanliness or space. They aren't peeping or chirping as if anything is wrong. They are just obsessively knocking on the cardboard walls.

    Does anyone know why they are doing this? Aside from the obvious annoyance of it, I certainly wouldn't want to try to ignore them if they are in need of something, although I don't know what that would be. Has this happened to anyone else? Is there anything I can or should do? In case it's relavent, they are 7 Bantams, 5 of which are Silkies, and then 1 Cochin & 1 Mille Fleur D'Uccle.
     
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    What kind of light are you using, if any? At 40 days and inside you could probably get rid of any light you're using and then they would sleep at night instead of knocking on the box. If you still think they need a heat source then switch to a red lamp and that should help some, but dark is better. They might also be getting a bit crowded....
     
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Mine used to dig down under the shavings and peck the bottom of their dog crate brooder. Made a nice sound, but I got used to it. lol
    They are like babies about stuff like that.

    It does sound like yours need to get outside though!!
     
  4. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:I have a red 250 watt brooder lamp, but it is set back quite a bit from their brooder and no longer shines directly in. The brooder is at about 70 degrees. I've been contemplating shutting it off (not because of the knocking, but just in general thinking it may be time), but have hesitated because NH is funny this time of year. One day it might be very warm, but then it can get quite cold and rainy, etc. So I've been apprehensive about turning it off. I tried searching for posts about when to shut it off, but everyone always says things like "when it reaches a stable temp". Well that doesn't happen in New Hampshire, ever, lol. So I've been unsure about that.
     
  5. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    I would suggest turning off the light at night if kept inside. That way they will just sleep and not constantly peck and be noisy. I think they should be fine, especially if its only at night and they can huddle together if they should get a bit cold.
     
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    I have 11 BA X chicks who are a week older then yours. Their mom was killed when they were three weeks old and I brought them inside to brood for a week. I never put a light on them, it runs between 65-75 degrees in the house and they never acted like they needed it. They've been back outside for a little over a week now and even though it has gotten down to the mid 40's at night and only recently above 65 during the day they're doing fine out there too.

    I'm sure yours will be fine without a heat lamp at this age and you would get more sleep. If you have a secure and draft free place for them outside you could do that too. Since they have been inside their whole lives I would use the heat lamp at least at night for the first week or so that they were outside if you go that route.
     
  7. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2010
    Thailand
    I think after 40 days in a box I'd be pecking my way out too [​IMG]

    Can you let them out somewhere where they can act naturally? Let them tire themselves out during the day.

    We only do free range and we don't need heating (it's always over 34C here) so I'm not sure if this might sound a bit crazy. Could you heat them from the bottom at night, I mean put their box above the lamp so that inside the box is dark at night.

    Could you switch them to a polystyrene box to keep the heat in and turn the light off at night. You'd need to line it with something, like cardboard, because chickens (or at least ours) absolutely love to peck polystyrene.
     
  8. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Okay, maybe it's time for me to cut the umbilical cord.... I mean, shut off the light. They are not ready for outside yet for sure, mainly because my run has not been completed and I'm in a HIGH predator area, so they are stuck with me until the run is done. But I think you may be right. I'll make the big step and shut off the light tonight.

    If anyone has any other theories, I of course would still like to hear them. Thanks!
     
  9. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    I am here in southern Maine, so I totally understand about the weather! My chicks are about 5 weeks old. We put them outside in the barn last week. There are only four of them, and their box is about 3 feet square, and about 2 feet high, wire sides, wire top. They seems to be fine. I did have to turn the light on last week when it was in the 50s, but otherwise they don't need it. Even when I thought they were cold and turned it on, they told me different! With 40 chicks, I would assume you need a larger area- maybe tape two larger boxes together? I would turn the light off and put them to bed!
     
  10. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:No, not 40 chicks, lol! They're 40 days old! I'm laughing thinking about that. I only have 7 bantams, but thank God it isn't 40 chicks keeping me up, lol. They would be massively over crowded if that were the case. [​IMG]

    I did shut off the light by the way, and I THINK it helped, but hard to say considering I went to bed at 3 am! [​IMG] So by the time I got to sleep the sun was up a couple hours later and they started knocking away at the box again. [​IMG]
     

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