It's been 2 weeks since we put our chicks outside. They are now 5 weeks old. We put them out in the coop/a very small run area under the coop at 3 weeks (with a heat lamp for the nights). Well, after two weeks of taking them up to their coops every night, we are STILL going out at dusk to catch them and put them away. They squawk and complain all the way to the coop but once inside, they hop right on their roosts and go to bed peacefully.
I have read a gazillion posts on this same subject and I feel like I've tried everything. I guess my biggest mistake was that I didn't lock them in their coop for their first few days outside (lesson learned). Now I can't lock them in there because it's too hot. I've offered treats (they don't come to them), cleaned and inspected the coop for pests, put a flashlight going up the ramp, etc. etc. My husband thinks that they're counting too much on us and we shouldn't go out there tonight- just let them sleep where they will (their run is predator proof, but still...). I have just been out there "warning" them that bedtime is coming- I put their food up in the coop, mealworms on the ramp, and turned the light on, but I have no hope that tonight will be any different from any other night! We are supposed to go out of town for two nights and I can't expect my family members to literally live at my house just to get these girls to go to bed.
So, can anyone think of anything I haven't tried? Maybe it's too hot up there??? It's been 100+ here for several days, but this being Colorado it gets down to about 60-65 at night and I was under the impression that they needed about 70-75 degrees at 5 weeks (I have the heat lamp going and they choose to roost under the light). My last thought is to lock them in their coop and somehow run a fan to the coop for the next couple of days to keep them cool.
I am quickly losing patience for this!
Thanks so much!!!