Why do silkies not like the chicken house?

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

I have 4 silkies that live in the inner part of my back yard. They have a lovely place to sleep in the fawn pen that is full of straw and out of the wind (covered with plastic for the winter), it has a lovely tin roof to listen to the rain and all their food and heated water bowl is in there. So why in Gods name, do I have to go out after dark every night and pick them up and put them in their house? The will sit in a pile in the yard with rain pouring down on them. I went out one night and they were covered with snow. They lay their eggs in the pen, but won't go in at night. Is this something with silkies or just me?

Woodsville, NH

I think birds need to be taught where their home is, I kept all mine in thier house for several weeks before letting them out to free range. So far so good.

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

Did that. Didn't help. Go figure.

Reynoldsville, PA(Zone 6a)

it's a silkie thing,lol. all mine do it too same way as urs are and my showgirls too. silkies are stubborn and love the rain for some reason. i have been there done that too and it never worked. did for most of the other breeds but not anything with silkie in it unless it is really super cold here. i have to chase mine in every night and put down the drop doors they want to be teens and stay out all night if i don't,lol. i feel like a momma hen worrying about them if i don't.

Thumbnail by silkiechick
Raleigh, NC

I've got the same problem, but not with Silkies, so its not their genetic lack of a brain! (Hope I didn't insult all the Silkies lovers out there....). My theory is that some behaviours are instinctual, some have to be copied or taught. Think of a baby, if it is starving, it recognizes food, but may not know how to use a spoon or fork to eat. Seeking nutrition is instinctive, learning how to take it in via your hands or a utensil is learned.

I have three young hens who have never lived with a flock or a rooster, as I acquired them as chicks and they are the only birds I have at the moment. They, too, will sit out in a pouring rain, a foot or two from the door to their nice, warm, dry coop. And yes, they DO go in the coop to lay in the nesting boxes. Seems to me that seeking out proper nesting materials in order to lay is instinctual, but learning to roost in a protected spot like a coop is, apparently, a learned behavior. Thats why chicks are supposed to grow up with an older bird that teaches them the ropes of survival....like coming in out of the rain!

I'm hoping to "borrow" a wise rooster or experienced hen at some point in hopes of teaching them. Fortunately, we have had little serious bad weather since I've had them. My efforts at shutting them into the coop (like all the books and experts say) have been in vain....they continue to roost outdoors, no matter how cold or wet.

Woodsville, NH

All my birds were out in the house with a heatlamp, guineas, silkies, sebrights, marans and turkeys, everyone comes in a night. Maybe it was because they were young or they learned it was safe and warm????? They don't appear to be different then the rest

Thumbnail by LoraK
Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

Lora K, I wonder if it was because they were all raised together? I absolutely adore my silkies, they are so diffrent than my other chickens, silly and friendly and love to be held and petted, but they are odd about night time. I can pick all of them up at once and put them in the same pile in the house and they never even move. SO I guess I'll just have to keep putting them to bed at night and if the weather is too yucky, I'll make them stay in the pen.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

I wondered about them all being together at first too. My buff silkies are still with the other birds but I took the white silkies out because the white roo is a little monster! All of mine go into the coop to lay and also go in as soon as it's dark.

I did notice mine stayed out later when the coop was closer to the garage light but when the coop is further from the light they go in sooner. Are your's still out when it's completely dark? LOL

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

All night long if I let them. I go out to put them to bed after it's dark because all I have to do is scoop them up then.

Hillsboro, OH(Zone 6a)

Isn't it funny how docile they become with night fall? Even our beastie roo can easily be handled when it's dark!

Northern Michigan, MI(Zone 5a)

It took me much longer to get all the silkies use to going to bed by themselves in the evening... oy !!! I use to wait until after dark and scoop them up and put them in the coop and lock it up too.

Have you tried keeping their food and water in the coop/house only. Go out before dark and give them food/treat in the chicken house. That has worked for me in the past... I call them and let them hear it hit the metal pan...lol, they come running.

Last week I came home and found the silkies drenched from standing out in the cold cold rain all day long like idiots... I was really ticked off. I mean they looked hideous and I had visions of them all dieing off sick. They have PLENTY of shelter , even outside of the chicken house but no they choose to drown instead.

I don't think they are very bright !!!!


Antrim, NH

It's true, they are a little on the dumb side, even for chickens! I did what Lora did and it worked for me. Everyone stayed in the house for 3-4 days at first. Also, is it easy for the bantams to get in and out of?The silkies can't jump very high. You could also put some eggs or fake eggs in there to encourage them to lay in there along with the food.

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

The door to the pen is always open unless I have closed it for the night. If I can get through it, they surely can. All their food and water is in there and they lay their eggs in there. They just don't like to SLEEP in there. The other night I had to bring them in and blow them dry with the hairdryer as they were wet and starting to ice up. Now they have taken to sleeping under the fanny of the roosting turkey and if I don't bring them in , they wake up full of turkey poop. Silly birds.

Woodsville, NH

Now thats a funny picture! Is there anyway you could give hang them a small heatlamp for a little while so they will sleep in there? Maybe that would work???????

Williamsburg, MI(Zone 4b)

I may try that, though they always sleep in the darkest part of the yard. (the better to trip over, I guess)

Tonight the designated dinner turkeys are occupying the pen, so the silkies can sleep outside without me harrassing them.

Antrim, NH

I think the heatlamp idea is a good one. I have noticed silkies seem to have no sense that they don't repel water the way other chickens do. they are dumb!

Foley, MO

All my silkies come in with all the other chickens when it gets dark. They also perch with everyone too. The dumbest chicken I have is my bc white polish roo, and I think most of his problems come from the lack of sight.

Norco, CA

Please check my silkies at showsilkies.com

This message was edited Mar 7, 2021 10:18 PM

Thumbnail by debbiehosley

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