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Two coops' worth of chickens in one coop. Help!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I have a dozen chickens and two coops for them, but they have all roosted together since they were tiny, and now that they're bigger I can't get them to split up and use both coops. They're WAY too big to all be in one coop for the night comfortably, but sure enough, that's what they do every night: squish themselves in there like little sardines, ignoring the second coop completely. They use the second coop for afternoon naps and chilling out during the day, and I think if I closed the first coop they'd use the second at night, but again, they'd ALL be in one coop. How can I get half of them to use a second coop at night, so everybody has roosting space and nesting boxes when the time comes? Also, how do I determine who goes into which coop, or will they take care of that themselves? Any help would be much appreciated...

post #2 of 5
If you really want someone to use the other coop, lock a bunch of them in there for a few days until it becomes home to them. If I were you, I'd just let them be. If you had a mansion sized coop with 1000 nestboxes, they'd all roost on top of one another and lay in the same box no matter the space. If they feel like they're overcrowded, whoever gets kicked out will use the other coop.
post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpramsey View Post
 

Hi all,

 

I have a dozen chickens and two coops for them, but they have all roosted together since they were tiny, and now that they're bigger I can't get them to split up and use both coops. They're WAY too big to all be in one coop for the night comfortably, but sure enough, that's what they do every night: squish themselves in there like little sardines, ignoring the second coop completely. They use the second coop for afternoon naps and chilling out during the day, and I think if I closed the first coop they'd use the second at night, but again, they'd ALL be in one coop. How can I get half of them to use a second coop at night, so everybody has roosting space and nesting boxes when the time comes? Also, how do I determine who goes into which coop, or will they take care of that themselves? Any help would be much appreciated...

Welcome to BYC!

 

How big(feet by feet) are these coops?

Pics would help.

Do they free range or are they confined to a run?

What are their ages and genders?

 

scottygvsu hit the nail on the head with locking some in the other coop to 'home' them to it.

How to choose who might be hard.

 

What are your long term goals for chicken keeping?

Any chance to build a coop large enough to hold your goal population?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottygvsu View Post

If you really want someone to use the other coop, lock a bunch of them in there for a few days until it becomes home to them. If I were you, I'd just let them be. If you had a mansion sized coop with 1000 nestboxes, they'd all roost on top of one another and lay in the same box no matter the space. If they feel like they're overcrowded, whoever gets kicked out will use the other coop.

Haha so true!! I have 4 nest boxes but there is one box that they all love! I can hear them squabble over it in the morning lol. One will always have to move to another box. Same with roosting. They will figure it out eventually especalls once it gets hotter outside.
post #5 of 5

I've moved some of my flock to different coops on occasion for the purpose of a better distribution, and it's not at all difficult.

 

Here's the easy way to do it. Wait until they are heading into the coop to roost. Try to select the ones you have observed hanging out together and pick them up and push them through the pop hole of the empty coop, then shut the pop hole door.

 

In the morning, open the door and let them out to spend the day normally. But that night, select the same birds to sleep in the neglected coop. If you can't tell them apart, mark their legs with a felt marker while they are on the roost the first night.

 

Repeat this process until they have developed the new habit of sleeping in that coop and are going in on their own. It's been my experience that it takes no longer than three nights to establish this new pattern. They will adjust easily, it is my guess, because they will be much more comfortable.

 

If you can't decide who are the ones who are buddies, watch at roosting time to see if there are any conflicts and select those individuals who are getting the worst of the skirmishes. They will be relieved to be able to experience peace at bedtime, and they should adjust quickly to their new sleeping quarters.

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