What is up with these chickens?

gardengalrn(5KS)May 31, 2008

It has been a busy day at the chicken coop. I made some new roosts, one a large ladder type that leads to the nesting boxes. A few others on the other side of the wall. DH installed a couple of solar lights on the outside of the house and weed-whacked along the fence line as it was getting way too tall. They also got their first taste of the big run, as until now they had stayed in the smaller penned area around their coop. All this being said, they have seemed happy and curious about everything. Got their nightly treat and were pleased to go into the coop. DH and I were standing there talking and I noticed that they were piling into a corner as if terrified to roam the rest of the coop. We shooed them away from the corner and shut their door. After dark we went out with a flashlight to peek in and they were back muddled into the corner. Not normal, they seemed really scared. We sat in the coop with them, I made sure there were no pests that they might be scared of. I even put them on their new roosts but they were having none of it. DH took the larger roost down and put it against a wall, thinking they might be freaked by the newness of it. I'm hoping they don't squash one another. Any thoughts?

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It's possible they are just so used to the confines of the brooder box, and are scared by the new huge open spaces. May want to let them have the option to go sleep in the brooder box if that's possible.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 6:21PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

It's normal for them to be a little scared of new digs. Is there anything that might be making a weird noise, like the solar lights cycling? Is there anything looming over their heads that might seem threatening?

If these are youngsters fresh out of the brooder, my 2 month old chicks did the same thing--refused the roosts and squashed in a pile behind the nest boxes. They got over it pretty shortly and adjusted. :)

Help them by offering them goodies a few times a day for the first week in the new area, so they learn to associate it with a pleasant experience.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:34AM
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My young hens did the same thing when they were released into their new home. Some still like to sleep that way and they are a year old. They just got use to all cuddling up in their brooder when they are chicks I guess. My new rescued Roos still sleep in a corner on the floor of the house. It is kinda funny they are not ready to roost with the ladies yet.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:04AM
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Well, I'm glad to say the chickens are over their initial fear of the new roosts:) Thanks for the input on that. I'm also proud to say that one of my roosters (an Iowa Blue) has begun to crow and show that he is protective of the ladies. I also have a New Hampshire Red rooster and while he's a lot thicker and bigger, has not shown any interest aside from making sure he's first to the treats. I have 22 hens so I'm hoping there won't be too much competition. I will keep my eye on the Iowa, thus far his protectiveness has not been towards me but towards the cats and my dog who hover outside the pens when I'm in there. That was the whole reason I got a rooster, as my coop is a distance away from the house and thought they might be a deterrent to at least some predators. He will puff himself up and flap when he sees the cats and it has done the trick. Only one of my many cats have shown an interest, she tries to charm them from a safe distance but is really scared if any of them get too close to the fence, LOL. So all is well so far, hope to continue with having happy girls and boys. Lori

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 2:13AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Glad they adjusted. :) As for the cats, I'll bet the chickens will have them on the run constantly. *L*

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 4:48AM
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