Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coming Home to Roost

Even though I've had chickens for several months, they haven't had the opportunity to go in and out of a roosting area until Sunday.  They still haven't quite figured it out.

Every evening when it starts getting dark, they start doing this.  Looking at the roost area, walking around the ramp, or other things that show me they want to go to bed.  They'll even stand at the bottom of the ramp and gaze up or lean on the ramp looking up.

Every evening (four, so far), I've had to go in and physically put them on the ramp.  Yesterday, I put their little feets on the step and showed them, by moving their feet, how to walk from one step to the next.  Not entirely sure when they'll "get it."  Two nights ago 2 hens went up by themselves, but last night one of them forgot again.  For you chicken experts out there, should I just leave them and they'll figure it out on their own, or am I doing the right thing?

Still no Pancho.  Maggie is morose and Sparky is glum.  Me, too.


  1. They'll figure it out. It's like anything new - and everything is new in this set-up - chickens get thrown for a loop, then have an 'aha' moment. Of course, sometimes the 'aha' moment has to occur more than once. After all, when the light bulb goes off, it's only a 3 watt...;o) I'm so sad about Pancho, too. Hope he's only on a walkabout, but it's dangerous country up there.

  2. Got a real chuckle picturing you taking the chickens' little feet and wikky-walking them up the ramp! But if it were me, 'd keep trying to train them for a while. They might get too comfortable snuggling in under the roost area and never learn to make it up the ramp.

    Our three year old geese rarely go up the ramp and into their shelter by themselves at night. We have to go out around dusk where we find them standing at the end of the ramp. Then we start in on nightly litany of, "Okay, time to go to bed now. In you go. Up on the ramp and into the house." Sometimes they need a little nudge, sometimes they go up the ramp themselves. (Ever hear the expression "bird-brain?" There's a reason for it.

    I do so hope Pancho makes it home unharmed. Do you have near enough neighbors that he could have gotten shut in a shed or out building?

  3. Good question, Mama Pea, about possibly getting shut in a shed or building. That happened to our neighbor's cat ~ she was in OUR garage ~ I felt so bad.

    Fingers crossed for Pancho.

  4. Glad to hear it's not unusual for chickens to need a push sometimes.

    I hopefully thought Pancho was shut in the basement, and left it open. I've been leaving the porch lights on at night for him - he's spent more nights outside than inside, so I'm hoping he just went on a long walk. But... the coyotes are really loud these days. ugh.

  5. Yep, just keep putting them up there and they will eventually get it.

    Also keeping fingers crossed for Pancho.


  6. I agree with the others, keep putting them in the roosting area every evening. If you don't they'll settle somewhere else and get into a bad habit. I'm dealing with this right now (and every spring season) when I incorporate new laying hens into the established flock. The new hens don't know how to get in and out of the mobile coop and inevitably settle under it. I go in every evening, gather them up (23 total) and move them onto a roost in the coop. It generally takes about 2 weeks for them to 'get it'. Keep it up!

  7. Just remember, look at the size of the chickens big could the brain be in there?

  8. My husband just went out side to the same thing...put the chickens to "bed" I hope they learn soon. And I hope Pancho comes home soon!