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Chickens won't sleep in the coop

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Never had this issue with previous flocks.  They sleep out in the run huddled together and under the 18" that isn't covered (even in the rain). I've tried locking them in the coop for a few days with no change.  It's starting to get colder, worried they will freeze to death one night.  

 

They have no problem getting food/water in the run or laying eggs in there although the majority of them won't lay eggs in the nesting boxes (which is getting annoying).

post #2 of 5

A description of your coop would be helpful.  Pictures would be even better.  How many chickens, how old are they and what is the square footage of your coop?  Four square foot per standard size bird in the coop is the general rule of thumb.  A coop also has to be safe and secure for the chooks to readily imprint.  Sometimes the worst predators are the tiny ones you can't see...an infestation of mites (they come out at night) in the coop could drive the chooks out to the run to sleep.  Good ventilation (without draft blowing across the birds) is also important.

 

That said, if your run is secure (half-inch hardware cloth, a foundation that can't be dug under easily, etc) then there is no reason you can't let them sleep outside.  Assuming your coop is predator/pest-free, is of sufficient size and the chooks have the choice of going in to the secure, safe coop or staying out in the secure, safe run then why not let them decide?  Chickens thrived long before we got ahold of 'em and started monkeying around with their behavior and genetics.  :D

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

The coop is 8x6 with a good sized roost made out of 2x4s.  Run is 16x8.  There are two windows that I cover in the winter.  They're next to my shed so no wind comes through them.  It gets cleaned regularly so I don't think there is any infestation.

 

I have 7 black australorps that are five months old.  

 

Never had this problem with other flocks.  They just naturally went to bed at night on the roost in the coop.  

post #4 of 5

Try rounding them up into the coop in the evening and lock the door. In the morning let them out again. Maybe they'll get the idea and start sleeping in the nest.

 

This is what I did. Hope you find it helpful.

post #5 of 5

I had the same issue, I think its a safety issue in their brains. You can try and make them see the coop as a safe place versus what they think is safe. Mine were sleeping on crates i had in their pen to sit on, on top of each other, so i removed them, thinking it was the problem. Then I started to find them sleeping on top of each other, in a corner of the run. Mine go in at about 7:30. So when it came time for them to go in, i would put them in by hand every night for a couple of weeks and lock the door. Now when i go out at night they are either already inside or they will see me and move from their "safe place" (not safe at all) and go inside and all i have to do is lock the door.


Edited by Zinniah - 10/4/15 at 9:42am
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