No one said chickens are smart. I built these girls a prime establishment. A yard with small hole chicken wire sides and top with a door that fits snug. The chicken wire sides are in a trench underground, folded into a U shape, filled in with dirt and cinder blocks sitting on top of the dirt to keep digging threats out. The girls have a vinyl sided nest/roost box with two windows and a large door with a smaller door inset so when it’s cold and the big door is shut, they are more enclosed.
When I went out to feed and water the girls the morning after the first frost, I was amazed to see them both covered in white rime. Obviously they chose to sleep out under the stars. I made sure to check on them that night, and there they were, hunkered down in the far corner of the chicken yard away from their house and the tarp roof that gives them protection from the rain. Why?
I sighed, went in the yard, picked up Bossy and unceremoniously pushed her into their house and closed the small door. Then I went over and picked up Pig Sty, opened the small door and shoved her in as well. I waited a few minutes to see if they would come right back out, but they stayed put.
This is an ongoing routine on really cold nights, but when it’s warm enough. I let them star gaze.