Hens stopped perching at night

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10 years 4 weeks ago #37279 by eunicia
Hi. Just needing some advice re our hens. We have had these hens since nov last year and all hunky dory with egg laying and perching etc until that storm in auckland about two weeks ago.

I think one time the hatch got blown open one night. Were not sure exactly of timing as we were overseas and had a pet sitter who found it open one day (she came daily to check on animals). Since around that time they basically stopped perching and they all huddle on the grass inside the A frame coop we have every night. So we have been manually putting them on the perch every night.

They are still laying and eating and grazing and free ranging in the daytime as normal.

Was hoping that perching them at night they'd remember and do it themselves. But as of last night they still showing no signs of wanting to do so.

What should we do? Leave them be since they are still somewhat sheltered inside the coop? Though in bad weather it is just the chicken wire at the bottom of the coop... How do we remind them to learn to perch independently again?

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10 years 4 weeks ago #483913 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Hens stopped perching at night
It will not matter if they sit on the ground rather than perch. However perhaps you need to check out a few things as to why they changed.

Is the perch secure or does it wobble when they jump up?
Is it in the same place as usual?
Are there red mites in/under the perch, especially at the supports either end?

Mites live in the woodwork and come out at night to suck blood and generally irritate them.
If you find mites (pin head size, bloody smear if you rub your fingers through them) you need to spray out your coop with Ripcord or Neem oil or malathion spray.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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10 years 4 weeks ago #483928 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Hens stopped perching at night
Ours have all abandoned the hen house in favour of roosting in trees. Might be different when the snow comes but some of them have roosted in trees in past Winters. They sit there with ice on their backs and don't seem to care.

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10 years 4 weeks ago #483941 by belinda_h
Mine live in the trees too - rain, hail, gale force winds - its their happy place.

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10 years 4 weeks ago #483980 by manymules
I second the "wobbly perch". Two of my girls stopped sitting on the perch at night for several nights in a row. It wasn't until I went in search of greeblies that I realised the perch swung back and forth if I leant on it. My two least adventurous chooks clearly decided it wasn't for them. A couple more screws and they happily keep going back to their perch once I put them back on the more stable version. Could easily have been damaged when the house got disturbed. Good luck.

Learning a little bit every day. Loving life. [:D]

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10 years 4 weeks ago #484022 by belinda_h
Tree branches are pretty wobbly, especially in a southerly.

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10 years 4 weeks ago #484023 by tonic

belinda_h;488018 wrote: Tree branches are pretty wobbly, especially in a southerly.

Yes, but they wobble up and down or side to side, a wobbly perch may twist or spin which is much more difficult to feel secure on...

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