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Hens that won't go to bed


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  • Hens that won't go to bed

    Hi, we are fairly new to keeping chickens got our four girls on 11/6/12. We do have a friend who keeps chickens and helps us out with advice etc, but this has us both stumped.

    The girls have only ever took themselves to bed once. They go into the coop sometimes in the day, so I know they can get in there. We have checked for red mite and there is no evidence. We have put a small led light in there hoping that would encourage them to go there once dark, but no such luck.

    I have hopefully attached some photos of the coop below, we were lucky to get an 8x6 shed which had not been used for birds before and we converted it into a walk-in run and coop. In the pictures it doesn't show that the coop has ventilation but it has a rectangle cut out covered with wire at the top of the big door, plus on the back wall of the coop/shed there is a louvre vent opposite the rectangle, plus there are some holes in the top of the coop.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Where are they roosting? Are they young birds? Can they roost higher than the coop?

    Oh and have you let them out of the run yet? If so, I'd keep them in there for at least week. It could be that they're so new to their environment and haven't made the connection yet.

    Have you tried putting them in there, door left open at night - when it's dark? Put them in on the perches.
    Last edited by chris; 27-06-2012, 05:37 AM.


    • #3
      I suspect they already think they are inside, the run looks fairly dark. They probably don't have a strong instinct to roost "inside" as they are already under cover.

      As Chris says you may need to put them in each night till they get the message or alter your run to offer more daylight. You may also find egg production is not great if they are not getting full daylight for at least 12 hours a day.

      Also don't put the led light in there. Chickens go to dark places to roost, the light may well put them off as well.
      Last edited by RichmondHens; 27-06-2012, 06:51 AM.


      • #4
        Hi Chris & Richmond Hens,

        Thanks for the responses.

        They are approximately 9 weeks old this week. They have been in this new set up for 13 days today. They can't roost higher than the coop and they have not been let out as yet.
        We have been putting them in every night since they have been in there except for one night when they took themselves.

        They all sleep huddled together at the back underneath the coop area on the floor I have attached a photo of the area.

        I have also attached a photo of the enclosure as a whole well the best I can get so that you can see roughly how much daylight they are getting. I never thought that it might be too dark to be honest so we may have to rethink the set up .

        Thanks again for the responses any help is much appreciated as we just want happy birds and saying that they seem very happy they just don't know what to do at bedtime.

        Attached Files


        • #5
          They're still very young, so as RH says won't have the instinct drive yet to go and roost somewhere "safe". Where they're sleeping at the moment will be the closest to where they'll feel safe.

          Just keep popping them in there, on the perches at dusk and they'll soon get the hang of it.

          Couple of months and you'll have their lovely little eggs to look forward to!


          • #6
            Thanks Chris,
            At the moment we are leaving them as long as possible to see if they get the idea but by 10pm we go and put them in. I just hope that it is light enough in the run and that this won't affect the egg production like RH stated. We can't wait for the eggs, really looking forward to it.


            • #7
              If you'll be letting them out, then they'll get the required daylight.

              There's also the option of running a light to the run for daytime use (please switch off so they have a period of darkness - otherwise they'll be nothing like glorified battery chickens!!).

              I've just re-roofed my run in Onduline, as my other roof, clear corrugated plastic was like a greenhouse in the summer sun, it made the run extremely hot.

              This onduline has made my run a lot darker, but also cooler.

              Mine have the run of the garden that they're in during the day though, so they should be fine light level wise!


              • #8
                Hi Chris,
                We do plan on letting them free range in the garden as well, only when we are out there as we do have foxes in the area. Plus they do seem to like flying up a lot so am considering clipping their wings first as I don't fancy chasing them over the garden fences.

                Thanks for your advice.


                • #9
                  You'll find as the grow that they'll become less flightly - they get heavier and then lack the power to get up as high. I've had to clip mine as they were off all over the place

                  All good fun though!


                  • #10
                    Out of my six girls, 2 always roost on the top of the coop, the other 4 put themselves to bed. The first night after clipping their wings all six went into the coop, but Calypso and Yuki have now worked out how to get on the nest boxes, and from there to the top of the coop. Mind you, when I go out there they walk towards me so it is easy to pick them up and pop them in. When I really need them to go in early, the four 'good girls' will trot in if I throw some corn into the coop, the other two are not fooled so easily , but they hate my broom, I think it must be the colour (it's pink!). I don't like using it to shoo them, but occasionally it is the only way.
                    I could not live without a garden, it is my place to unwind and recover, to marvel at the power of all growing things, even weeds!
                    Now a little Shrinking Violet.



                    • #11
                      My youngsters all sleep outside at the moment. I think as it gets cooler they will roost in the coop. They are underneath it at the mo I think. The broody got tired of them when they were still quite young so she wasn't there to show them what to do at night time. I've seen them in the house in the day time, but noticed them settling down at night in a big heap in the corner of the run.


                      • #12

                        Hi BarleySugar lol @them not liking the pink broom I may have to invest in one

                        Well the last two nights the girls have taken themselves up to bed, they all seem to sit in the door opening but at least they are going up. The only thing we changed was we turned off the security light as we was told this may be confusing them and that seems to have been the problem.

                        So finally we have chickens taking themselves to bed, they just need to learn to go all the way in lol, but it is better just having to shoo their bums in rather than actually picking them up and putting them in.

                        Thanks everyone for all the advice it was much appreciated.


                        • #13
                          Jessmorris that was what mine were doing, but they have figured it out now lol.


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