Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Un-cooperative Chickens





So out of our 12 recent Red Sex-link hens (Ya we went back and got 2 more plus the original 10) only about 3 of them are really getting the hang of this new life of freedom.

The fact that these remaining 9 don't seem to want to leave the barn doesn't bother me as it took the other poultry barn birds a good while to begin foraging outside too. Where these hens are different is though they are not one bit scared of humans at all.

I would say all but about 2 or 3 of the original 18 hens will be in the coop well before sundown. Half of them will already be roosting and there is usually only 1 or 2 left outside I need to run in. The old hens will always run away from me and straight for the coop. These new hens? Well not so much. They just sort of run everywhere.

I am tired of trying to wrangle em up every evening.

So last night I left the door open until well after dark and then went down hoping they finally got the hint and went to bed. Nope. These 9 hens were in the doorway where the outside flood lights keeps the entrance illuminated and were still pecking away at stuff.

Then I remembered I had read on more than one blog that keeping a light on in the coop will get the chickens to go in at night. I shut the main door, turned off all the lights and then went into the coop with my flashlight. It kinda startled all the old hens and Rocky who were sound asleep but sure enough all those new hens followed me like a bunch of rats following the pied piper. Let me tell you that barn is DARK when you close all the doors now that I have the windows boarded up and those hens came right for the only light they could see.

So today I had an idea. I have several of these little battery motive tea light things and I thought I would rig up some way to hang one in the coop. I can then turn the light on when I am out doing the evening feeding and leave it on. Shut all the doors and then go back in an hour or so and see if the light draws these new hens into the coop. I can then turn the light off and close the door.

Think it will work?

I may need a brighter light though I don't know but I am going to give it a try tonight and see. I know the flashlight worked well last night.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!


20 comments:

  1. You forgot to read them a bed time chicken thriller, maybe the one about Col. Sanders. We don't have any problems as it is dark here and they all want to go in. Your light might work if it doesn't mess up the ones who go to roost early, hard to tell as they are strange animals with strange ideas sometimes. You have to admit that they provide their share of entertainment for you, hard to imagine not having chickens now?

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    1. Sf - Well most of these birds will go in unless we leave a light on in the barn itself then they will go to it and continue eating all night if they can. These poultry barn raised hens are the oddest of the odd though they just don't have any natural chicken instincts it seems.

      Ya the chickens actually fit in much better than I thought they would. Of course we haven't had a predator issue yet and I hope it stays that way.

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  2. PP, when supplemental lighting is added to coops (to encourage laying during the winter months) it is recommended to have the lights come on during the morning hours. We have a couple of hens that if the feeder is left out, they will hang out around the feeder for as long as they can see.

    I think those ol' gals thought you were going to feed them. When it is bedtime, take a feeder into the coop and they should all follow you in. Sexlinks consume a lot of food - they are high production birds, meaning they eat a lot to maintain not only their body weight but to maintain their high egg production.

    Pretty soon they'll go in on their own.

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    1. hobo - this isn't supplemental lighting. I have read in a few blogs that having a light on in the coop will make the chickens go there when it is dark.My plan is to not chase em but leave the light on and then go down there about an hour or so after dark and shut the light off and lock the door.

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  3. My new Barred rocks are people hens too. They like to follow me around the coop. Ditto what hobo said about sex link's I have had them jump in the food bucket while I am trying to fill the feeders... Silly birds

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    1. JuGM - These red sex-link hens are just super used to people feeding them and no other source. When they see me they just think it's feeding time. One of our original sex links will still jump on our shoulder when we get grain for the sheep out.

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  4. I have Rhode Island Reds.( not that that really matters chickens are chickens). I have 25 watt light on a timer in the coop. It goes on around dusk for an hour and about an hour before dawn. They think it is the sun in the late day and they think it is daytime before it actually is. Seems to work. I change the 25 watt to a heat lamp in the winter, they really love it.

    Carl in the UP

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    1. Carl - I have thought about the timer thing. We have a heat lamp ready to go in there if we think we need it but so far all I am really worried about is getting the hens to all go in and roost without my having to chase em down.

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  5. I guess you could use the chickens to support your "Golden Horde" theory, which by the way I agree. I'm more worried about the preppers with guns, little sense and food.

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    1. K - You mean my "the horde won't be a problem" theory? I think once the free for all starts 99% of them will be wiped out before they make it 10 miles out of the cities. Some agree, some disagree but most of the people who have ever really traveled by foot any great distance at night agree. Those city idiots will be lost and kill themselves even if they don't end up prey before that.

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  6. Is their any breed of chicken that the rooster is silent?

    I ask because our county has a bylaw that you can have chickens on your property but no roosters if you have less than 10 acres. I have more than that but it's multiple titles soit doesn't count.

    We want eggs 0and chickens but to do that we need a rooster and if he's not quite people will know.

    Exile1981

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    1. Might recommend Coturnix Quail. So far as I know they are reputed to make little noise. Do not get the Texas A&M variety as their roosters do crow (ask me how I know....)

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    2. It gets very cold here and they need to migrate to the equator each year. So i'd need to heat the coop.

      Exile1981

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    3. Exile - Boy I don't know of one. Ours certainly isn't. He crows all day long at the top of his lungs. Rocky is so far away though we don't hear him when we are inside and outside the spread is large enough it still isn't over loud.

      I would just get a rooster and figure if they say anything show em your separate deeds.

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    4. I'm thinking dark bramhas as they are very cold tolerant, friendly and good egg layers... plus they tend not to wander.

      Exile1981

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  7. I've heard you can teach them to come to your call. So everytime you fill the feeder, you call them. And everytime you round them up at night, you call them. And eventually, they will come when you call.

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    1. Lisa - Ya we were calling them in the evening and bribing them with some corn but with these new 12 trying to round em up just got too much for me.

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  8. Seems there are always hold outs. Every group of chickens we have ever had, there is one or two that like to push staying out at night to the limits LOL.. Bad chickens lol The light idea is a good one I think though. I will have to try that myself. My buff is the one that will hold out in this group we have now. Course I have this whole flock of baby chicks coming up. They are still in my kitchen in the tub LOL
    I tell ya I am about ready to give that tractor model gig a try. This other work is about to do me in rofl rofl

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    1. Texan - I think it was over at Rural Revolution I read about the light idea.

      I got the tractors for ya to model on if you want!!!

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