Winter chills?

Wormhunter

Songster
May 8, 2020
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My 6 Rhose island red hens are remaining perched in their pen in the evenings. They are not going into their coop to sleep. They go into their coop to lay their eggs but sleep in their pen on shelves or perches even though nights are much colder now from 5 to -5 here in the uk
Should I put my hands into their coop or trust they know what they are doing?
They are free range from 8 am till approx 3:30 pm when dusk begins to fall. They continue to eat and lay well
Should I worry?
 

azygous

Enabler
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Colorado Rockies
You have auto-correct on your device, don't you? It delivers some entertaining typos. ("Hands" in coop). I disabled mine to save my reputation and dignity.

When chickens suddenly stop going into their coop at night, you can suspect some sort of unpleasant thing going on in there that chickens are entirely too smart to put up with.

This should be your cue to inspect the coop thoroughly when dark comes. Use a flashlight to check the roosts for mites, check the chickens' legs for bugs crawling up them. Look for signs of rodent activity, maybe even set a couple of traps under chicken-safe coverings that still permit rodents to access the traps. A couple of months ago, I had a persistant pack rat that was trying to set up residence in the coop, making my chicken nervous. I finally caught it in a rat spring trap.

If you have a game camera, those reveal unbelievable surprises. Intruders, maybe even a human, may be trying to get into the coop at night and rattling the chickens during the attempts.

Meanwhile, carry your chickens inside and place them on their perches with calming words of reassurance. It may have been a one-off scare that they now need to put behind them, and the repetition of putting them inside each night will get them to reset going in on their own.
 

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