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Mrs Fiddlesticks

letting the chickens out in the morning

Do you let your chickens out the minute its light, or do you ignore the shouts and let them out as it fits in with your routine?

I ask as we are in the process of thinking about the summer holiday and whilst we have a willing neighbour to fed and shut them up he might be less willling if they need letting out at 5am!!

Without being cruel would it matter if they were kept shut in for an extra half an hour to an hour in the morning for a mere week in August?

We are looking in to an automatic door opener but the design of our hen house may prohibit that.

We let the chickens out when we can, and when it fits in with our routine. I don't think they will suffer in any way if they have to be let out later than usual, or for less time than usual.

Yes, Julie, agree with Foghorn, I think they'll be fine. We let them out as early as we can - of course in winter this often means waiting for them to get up Rolling Eyes .

We've not noticed much noise from them in the summer mornings if we'rea bit late. Often they're completely silent until they hear us start opening the house. The only thing is once or twice they managed to find their way out from the sleeping quarters in to the ark and then announce their arrival like they're confused about their role in life...

I put curtains up! This prevented any early noises! Laughing
Mrs Fiddlesticks

ours ( and there is only 3) tend to start up a glorious 'trumpet voluntary' of a noise the minute its light. If that gets no action then someone, sometimes starts a loud and indignant clucking!! I think the cockerel in the village gives them the idea. We always get up quickly as our neighbours said no cockerel ( i shan't comment about those that move to the country and then moan about country noises!! Rolling Eyes )

The girls have not got us wrapped round their little tail feathers at all then! Laughing

thanx for the help!

mrsnesbitt wrote:
I put curtains up! This prevented any early noises! Laughing

In your house or the geese's house? Laughing Is geese's a correct word. Confused

Fiddlesticks Julie wrote:
ours ( and there is only 3) tend to start up a glorious 'trumpet voluntary' of a noise the minute its light.

If you can exclude as much light as possible (as Mrs Nesbitt suggests) without stopping the ventilation that should keep them a little more sedate.

An ideal time for ours is about 8ish, 9 doesn't seem to cause them any trouble but I do notice if they are let out late they seem to go to be late.

I remember some old books saying leave the hens shut in until they lay. I wouldn't do it to ours as they are in an ark.

I agree about the country noises, when we come to sell I'd love to rent a cockerel for a month. Twisted Evil Laughing Neighbours were complaining about leaves over the weekend. That'll be the trees you get in these parts I thought. Rolling Eyes

Treacodactyl wrote

In your house or the geese's house? Is geese's a correct word.

Dearest Treacodactyl I am talking about our hens the hen house. the GEESE live in the Goose hut......................... sadly no curtains .yet! However once they read this, and they do read posts just to see their pictures, I am sure they will start asking questions!

We don't have hens now.........they hated the tie backs.said they preferred vertical blinds!!!

mrsnesbitt wrote:
We don't have hens now.........they hated the tie backs.said they preferred vertical blinds!!!


We are currently lighting our hens in Winter, which I know not everyone agrees with.

(I don't feel personally, given their overall quality of life, that we are doing anything detrimental. No more detrimental than keeping them for eggs in the first place, anyway. With or without a Winter break, being bred as an egg producing machine is bound to limit a chicken's life expectancy to some degree. I feel that provided they get good quality feed, extra greens and calcium and lots of TLC, and have plenty of space to run about and do chickeny things, they are still having the best life they can. Ours are in excellent health, and the number of eggs produced during our first Winter has been amazing.)

Their timer is adjusted every week to give a total of 14 hours of light altogether each day - more in the middle of the Summer. They get extra light in the morning only, so they take themselves off to bed naturally as it gets dark and have a gradual dusk in which to find their perches.

This means their light goes on an hour or so after midnight at mid-Winter, getting later and later as the year progresses, and also meant that in December, the chickens were sometimes getting up before I had gone to bed!

They are used to being in their house until they are let out in the morning, and though you can sometimes hear them scratching around or singing to themselves at strange times in the early morning, they don't really make a kerfuffle unless one has just laid, or one of them wants to get into the nestbox before the other has finished. That doesn't often happen, though, and one nest box between the three of them is usually perfectly adequate. (I think they can 'hang on' for a bit if they need to.)

[There was one time recently though, during the day, when I knew one of our three hens had just gone in to lay, and I could only find one chicken in the garden. The missing hen wasn't in the main henhouse, or behind the shed, or under the bushes, and I was quite worried that she might have flown over into next door's garden and been eaten by their dogs or something. Eventually, I checked in the nestbox and found not one, but two birds squashed in head to tail, (it's not a big nestbox to start with), both looking at me indignantly for disturbing their private moment!]

Our three usually get let out in the morning about 7.30 on a weekday, which is about the time I get downstairs, but at weekends or school holidays it can sometimes be as late as 9 o'clock if we have all had a lie in! They don't seem to mind, as the timer is set to stay on until 9 am if no-one has turned it off before then. (There is only a small window in the henhouse, and chickens seem to need higher light levels than humans to be able to see what they are doing - something to do with rods and cones, I think. All I know is, they seem to get panicky in levels of light that we find quite comfortable.

I would be worried about letting my chooks out too early before someone was up and about, as foxes are still likely to be on the prowl at this time. Once people in the neighbourhood are moving about and making noise, the foxes have gone off to sleep and I am happy to let them out.

I guess if you let them out of their house and into a covered area or run, such as the living area of the ark, then that's probably OK, even though it might still enourage unwanted attentions from the local sandy-whiskered gentleman.

I worry about the noise factor too, as I'm living in a sub-urban area, where people aren't really livestock oriented. Having said that, I'm lucky with my neighbours, who swear they hardly hear them. It doesn't stop me panicking a bit if I do hear them shouting in the small wee hours, though.

Dawn is a good time for free range hens to catch insects and worms, though that's probably slightly less relevant for those in an ark as their range is smaller. But on balance, if you have a choice, I'd say stay in bed every time.

I've found with mine, that unless I've made a habit of letting them out at the crack of dawn, they don't expect it. Though I did have a couple of nights on the trot once where they shouted and squabbled with each other for about an hour and a half before I finally relented and went down to let them out in the pre-dawn gloaming, because I couldn't stand it any longer! (I seem to remember telling them I didn't care if the bl**dy foxes ate them!)

I never did find out what it was all about, though I did check quietly out my bedroom window for cats and foxes before going down to open their pop hole. It's my guess that they were just having a heirarchy squabble, as a little while after that the pecking order between the three of them had changed.

I wouldn't leave mine in till they lay, because they sometimes don't get round to it until the afternoon! Shocked Very Happy
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