Chickens won't go inside in cold

Asked November 10, 2014, 5:44 PM EST

Hello, We have 16 chickens that have a nice big chicken coop and a screened in outside area. They have been (in the warmer months) all going inside at night to sleep on the roosts in the coop. We ha to move the roost in the coop to position it for a eat lamp for the winter if needed. Now, since the roost has been moved, the chickens will not go inside of the coop to sleep. We are concerned since it is quite cold outside, but are not sure why they are not going in to sleep. They go in to eat and drink only. Could they be stressed because we moved the roost position? What should we do, as we are afraid it will be too cold for the outside, but they have the ability to go in and out?

Northampton County Pennsylvania poultry poultry housing poultry behavior

3 Responses

Yes, movements can cause the birds to become frightened, especially if the light intensity is too high. Consider using a red heat lamp and place the lamp in one corner of the chicken housing so that there are hot and cold zones in the house. Be sure to provide plenty of food, water and perch space for the birds. Make sure the heat lamp is suspended by a chain or cable to avoid a fire. For more information consult:
http://extension.psu.edu/animals/poultry/topics/urban-and-small-poultry-production
and
http://www.extension.org/poultry
Thanks for the question, G.

Thank you. We have a red lamp and colder spots inside for them.Our concern is that they now are not sleeping in the coop on the moved roost and are sleeping outside in the cold. Will they naturally eventually go inside to sleep again or is there something we should do? lam

You may want to house them at night for a period of time. If the weather is not going to be warm enough anyway you will need to coop the birds. This may get them to re-adopt the house.

Thanks, G.