NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Hens and Houses: A Mystery  (Read 1442 times)

DanW

  • Joined Apr 2013
Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« on: April 06, 2013, 09:05:34 pm »
I've recently inherited some chickens with a new house, and was getting on fine with them until earlier this week...

4 of the 7 have decided to suddenly stop going into the house at night, and instead roost on the roof over their feeders. The other three are quite happy inside, and there doesn't seem to be any reason why the others have stopped. The house is clean, there is no obvious bullying, and we are still getting eggs. If I pick them up and pit them on the ground, they slowly make their way in.I can close them in in the secure run at night, but seen as it is still so cold at night I am a little worried about their health.

Any suggestions?
Voss Electric Fence

goosepimple

  • Joined May 2010
  • nr Lauder, Scottish Borders
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2013, 09:31:54 pm »
Hens like to roost in trees.  The higher they are the safer they feel.  Are your roosting perches high enough off the ground Dan? 
 
We inherited loads of hens here who all roosted in the trees, sitting like big fat puddings at dusk, as high up as they could get, swaying around in the wind, getting covered in thick snow and frost in winter.  They have almost all lived to 7years plus.  We used to grab them and put them in the hen houses in winter but they'd see us coming and fly up to the trees, eventually we just left them and they lived long and happy.  We 'defrost' them in the mornings with porridge or rice crispies with warm milk which they all devour, Scottish winters. ::)   They teach their chicks to go up too, we made a little ladder for them, they sit under their mummy's wings on the branches all cosy.
 
I'm in favour of letting them do what they want - we have houses, some use them, some don't and go in the trees.  It stops disease and I think they are safer in the trees.  Don't worry about their health, they're hardy wee things, stop being a soppy towny Dan  ;D  so long as they're up high.  If you don't have a tree in their run, maybe get a windfall one from somewhere and strap it to your run fencing and let them roost in it?
 
They're happy if you're still getting eggs remember  :D
registered soay, castlemilk moorit  and north ronaldsay sheep, pygmy goats, steinbacher geese, muscovy ducks, various hens, lots of visiting mallards, a naughty border collie, a puss and a couple of guinea pigs

Greenerlife

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Leafy Surrey
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 09:34:13 pm »
Mine have all recently started doing this!  lovely house, all clean, no mites, timed door opening and closing (well after dark for closing) and the usual suspects stay outside!  Weird.

happygolucky

  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2013, 09:41:35 pm »
Mine used to do it  but I removed the bench that they got on to get hight up the tree, if they cannot get up into the branches then they will not roost their, mind you, sometimes they are safer up in the trees and even warmer.....

DanW

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2013, 10:09:22 pm »
Goosepimple - thanks for detailed reply - I will add some taller perches and see what happens! And I'm Shropshire born and bred too, not a townie bone in me! I love the porridge idea too, will try it in the morning.

CameronS

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • North East Fife
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2013, 12:26:17 pm »
have you checked to see if you have redmite in the house? During my infestation all but a few hens legged it to the trees, but when i got rid of them, they all returned to the house.

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2013, 01:39:21 pm »
Ours roost in trees too. They seem to prefer this in winter and sometimes move back in the house in the summer!
We just leave them to it. They've survived 3 winters already
J xxxx

goosepimple

  • Joined May 2010
  • nr Lauder, Scottish Borders
Re: Hens and Houses: A Mystery
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2013, 02:24:10 pm »
Sorry Dave, didn't mean to insult with the soppy towny bit - I am one myself through and through, hate killing anything and am the worst for adding freeloaders to my smallholding  :D   ::)
registered soay, castlemilk moorit  and north ronaldsay sheep, pygmy goats, steinbacher geese, muscovy ducks, various hens, lots of visiting mallards, a naughty border collie, a puss and a couple of guinea pigs

 

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