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  1. #1
    lwcreations is offline Seedling
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    Default 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.

    Attachment 30432Attachment 30433

  2. #2
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    chris is offline < moo beans.
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    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 at 06:37 AM.

  3. #3
    RichmondHens is offline Early Fruiter
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    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 at 07:51 AM.

  4. #4
    lwcreations is offline Seedling
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    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.

    Attachment 30437 Attachment 30438

  5. #5
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    chris is offline < moo beans.
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    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. #6
    lwcreations is offline Seedling
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    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. #7
    chris's Avatar
    chris is offline < moo beans.
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    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. #8
    lwcreations is offline Seedling
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    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.

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