BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Chickens won't go thru automatic coop door any more - help!
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Chickens won't go thru automatic coop door any more - help!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi. About two weeks ago I installed an automatic chicken door onto their coop/run. I wanted to sleep in, in the mornings and not worry if we come home late or go out of town for the weekend. When I first installed it they went back and forth thru the gate, no problem. Then two nights ago when my shepherd went out, she started barking like crazy, which made me go out to see what's going on. When I went out, I saw that the auto coop door was closed and the chickens were still roaming around our yard. I had the door close at 9pm, since they're usually in their coop by 8pm and figured I was safe having it that late. I opened up the door, but they refused to go thru as if they're scared to go thru. I had to pick them up and put them in and they weren't happy about it. They finally settled down for the night and it was all good. Yesterday morning they went out like normal and seemed fine. Last night I checked on them and they were not in the coop and huddled in a corner trying to stay safe. So, I had to pick them up and put them in, which they still didn't like and then I had the door close early with them inside. They seem afraid to go thru the door to go back in the coop, but don't have a problem coming out of the coop. I've tried throwing mealworms (their favorite) inside and they seem scared to "cross the threshold" inside the coop.

We live in the Bay Area, CA and my neighbors have cameras that show opossums and raccoons in the neighborhood and they've showed me footage of them on my fence where the chickens are and I want to make sure that my chickens are safe while I'm gone.

Can someone please help me out with some ideas as how to fix this? We are going out of town in a few weeks and I want to make sure that they are safe.
post #2 of 4
I would spend a day chasing them inside the coop repeatedly, to mentally break the fear. I haven't had an automatic door before, does it make any noises? And have you factored in daylight savings time and adjusted the closing time?
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi. I have it open at 6am and close at 9pm, so it is plenty dark by then. Tonight one chicken was in and the two others were huddled outside of the coop at 8:15 and it was dark outside. I tried to corral them in, but they refused to go in. So I had to separate them and pick them up and put them in. Once they were inside they ran and jumped on the roosting bar for the night and were fine. It was just a matter of getting past the initial fear of the threshold. Then I went and had the auto door close on them and they were fine.

I spent an hour today sprinkling worms on the inside and outside of the threshold to try and get them comfortable and eating from both sides. Hopefully it'll work in a few more days.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #4 of 4
I would keep up what you are doing. I don't think you said how old these birds are, young birds will often do this. Once the coop gets too dark they can be afraid to go in because they can't see well when it gets dark. A night light can help.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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