I mentioned before that the hens love their new, spacious, warm and bright space so much that they don't like to go outside any more. This wouldn't be a problem except that we had been keeping their food and water outside because they tend to poop where they eat. Since they weren't going outside, they stopped eating and drinking enough and their egg production went down drastically.
If we desire eggs and plump chickens, the feed and water need to be inside with their lazy, feathered butts. Now we are dealing with 14 hens pooping in there 24/7. Gross.
I started encouraging them out of doors a couple of times a day by offering corn and/or kitchen scraps, and some of them would stay out for a while.
Last weekend, JP put a clear rubber flap over their door - the kind used over pet doors. It is slit multiple times, and each flap is now only about 1/4 of an inch wide. It has done wonders to keep it warmer inside the chicken house, but the hens don't realize that the door is still there!
Now I herd them outside in the mornings. At first, I had to catch each hen and physically shove her through the door. Now they head outside on their own when I herd them towards it. The majority of them, however, can't figure out how to get back in. All week, I've had to herd all 14 hens into a corner, catch them one by one, and stuff their heads into the door in order to get them back inside the house.
At least they are getting a bit of fresh air and exercise when I chase them madly around the pen. I'm sure it's comical to watch.
9 months ago