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6 Week Old Chicks Not Returning to Coop at Dusk

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Fuzzymilo, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. Fuzzymilo

    Fuzzymilo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2015
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    I have chicks that are six weeks old today. They were raised in the coop from day 1. Saturday (five days ago) we opened the chicken door into the enclosed run and began to let them explore the run all day, while leaving the coop door open so they could go back into the coop if they wished. We showed them how to get back into the coop by putting them up the ramp and into the door.

    Yesterday and today I've seen some of the chicks going up the ramp into the coop door, so I know they know how to do it. The problem is that at night when it gets dark they aren't going back into the coop. They pile up in a corner of the run under the coop. It's kind of a pain to crawl under there, grab them, and put them into the coop. However, I'll keep doing that until they figure it out. My question is, how long should it take for them to figure out that they're supposed to sleep in the coop?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Probably about a week of that.
    I'd screen off the space under the coop so they can't go under there at dusk. Then with fewer options, they may just go in the coops.
     
  3. DcockyD

    DcockyD Out Of The Brooder

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    I read somewhere that u should "bait" them in as the sun starts to set. Call them in and put down their favorite treat. U might need to round them up. They should get use to the schedule in about a week and start going in on their own.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    My first thought was that they may be having a problem with bullying at roosting time. Is the coop full of adult chickens? Or is it empty and these chicks are the first to live in the coop?

    If there aren't any adults to cope with, that's a huge problem averted. So you need only teach them to go inside at dusk.

    Wait until you see them begin to congregate in a group, making their bedtime noises. Then you get inside the coop with a light. This is important. Chicks aren't necessarily afraid of the dark, but they like to see where they're going, and often it's darker inside the coop than outside.

    Call them inside shining the flashlight where they need to go. If they don't cooperate, then lure them in with treats the first time. You will probably need to repeat this the second night as well. But by the third night, they should have the idea and will go in on their own. It's a very powerful urge to roost under secure cover at night. It shouldn't be a big battle.
     
  5. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine, at 4 weeks, do the same thing. I shoo them in the door and then they pile up along the edge w/ the wire--where a coon could just snag them (1" wire). I think they are afraid of the dark. I wait about 10 minutes for them to calm down, then push/place them into the enclosed area. I shush them as I do this and they stay pretty calm, not much peeping. Once I get them calmed and settled, they usually stay there but not always. I come back out after 20 minutes just to make sure they're in the enclosed area. I sure hope they get the message soon!
     
  6. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At first, young chicks seem to avoid going into the coop at night, probably because it's darker in the coop than in the run at dusk.

    For the first week or so, put a dim light inside the coop. This seems to draw them into the coop at dusk. I turn the light off after dark, when they've settled onto the roosts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  7. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was so happy last night--I had 3 on an upper roost and 5 on a lower. Came out to check later and all are in a pile on the floor. I am taking a cue from my 2 older girls. They head to the coop and I put the babies to bed, ready or not. Last night it was darker than usual, overcast, and they went to bed at 6:30! If I don't put them to bed, they will play outside until it's too dark to find them all.
     
  8. trudyg

    trudyg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All except 1 went in last night at dusk. I had to put the last one in myself. Up on the roost they all went. When I checked on them an hour later, all piled onthe ground.
     
  9. VinceRusso

    VinceRusso Out Of The Brooder

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    We had a few that did that so we just pick them up and bring them to the the coop. A little encouragement and kinds words and they caught on within a few days and no go in on their own. It's funny hearing my 16 year old son say "what chu doing out here girl? you need to go to bed now. come on, lets go inside with your sisters, you're a good chicken"
     
  10. Fuzzymilo

    Fuzzymilo Out Of The Brooder

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    They all went into the coop on their own last night. Yay!

    And to pp, these are our first and only chickens so they aren't being bullied, thankfully.
     

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