8 week old pullets won’t go into coop at night

ANiceKaren

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
529
545
206
Frazier Park California
Hi friends!
I have 5, 8 week old pullets that just refuse to go into coop by themselves at night. Instead they prefer to roost on the top of it! Every night at the same time I go out there and they are all roosting on top versus going inside. This has been a week now! Ha! I don’t mind taking them down nightly and putting them in (which is what I’m doing) but I’d prefer them to go inside themselves. I have a nightlight so they can see and a small roost inside the coop as well. It’s not as high as the top of coop though which maybe is why? Any tips?! They have been outside in run/coop area with supervised free ranging for 4 weeks now so are used to the area for sure. For the record my run is very safe and the top of coop is secure but I’d still like them inside. First pic is them on top of coop and second is run area… their coop is yellow in back. It’s seperated from big girls area by chicken wire. Any advice is appreciated!
 

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ANiceKaren

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
529
545
206
Frazier Park California
Did you keep them in the coop for a couple weeks when they first moved into the coop before letting them out into the run? They need to know where home is.
Another thing to try is to sprinkle treats in the coop about 30-60 minutes before bedtime and then lock the coop when they go in to eat.
I didn’t do the keep in coop thing but ironically the first few night they did go inside themselves but seem to prefer the top now. The food is a great idea! I’ll do that. When I put them in they are fine and go right to sleep.
 

CluckerFamily

Enabler
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
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Wisconsin
I didn’t do the keep in coop thing but ironically the first few night they did go inside themselves but seem to prefer the top now. The food is a great idea! I’ll do that. When I put them in they are fine and go right to sleep.
If you don’t want to give too many treats, a mash of their food works too if they know you put it in there.
 

3KillerBs

Addict
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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I have only raised a limited number of chicks, but it seems that there is a teenager-won't-go-to-bed stage between roughly 8-12 weeks give or take a little longer where they try to sleep anywhere except the nice, secure, coop and half to be put to bed.

Looking at the photos, I wonder if, in addition to the height of roost issue, there might not be enough ventilation in the coop so that it's hot and stuffy in there. Is there more ventilation that was can't see?

Heat and ammonia both rise so if there is no venting at the roof peak the atmosphere inside can get unpleasant.
 

Cryss

Eggcentric
Nov 12, 2017
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Personally I never put food inside a coop as it attracts predators, pests, and insects. Same for water as it increases humidity and the rule for the inside of a coop is bone dry all the time. There is one exception and that is when the birds need to be on lockdown for any length of time. The first reason any flock keeper needs to lockdown their birds is when starting a flock in their new home. The problem is they don’t realize that it is their home yet. Since they are all very young the first thing I do is set up a food and water station. In the case of a small coop with little room it goes in the nesting area that they will not be using for several weeks anyway. The birds are locked in 24 hours a day for about 2 weeks. During this time they become very comfortable inside knowing their way around feeling secure. It becomes their home. It becomes their sanctuary. They feel safe. Chickens don’t like the dark so they like a place that feels safe. When the time is up you let them out into the run and move your food out there and the water out there. And at this time you give the inside of the coop a good going over to make sure there’s no feed residue left behind no water spills (water spills need to be cleaned up daily during lockdown.) and of course it’s a good time to freshen up their bedding. That night hopefully they will remember this lovely place that they call home and go inside on their own. However because it’s the very first night out they might not so you might need to herd them in. If you need to heard the men more than two nights in a row you might need to do a couple more days of lockdown. But usually they catch on. In the future when you add new chickens the older chickens will show them where to go. Although you might need to help them out the first few nights. Lockdown has always worked for me.


Looking at the photos, I wonder if, in addition to the height of roost issue, there might not be enough ventilation in the coop so that it's hot and stuffy in there. Is there more ventilation that was can't see?

Heat and ammonia both rise so if there is no venting at the roof peak the atmosphere inside can get unpleasant.
So true. Heat, moisture, and ammonia come from their poop. It rises and as it cools it drops back down. This makes the coop and the birds damp. In winter this freezes on the walls, bedding, roost, and worst of all on the birds. Chickens respiratory systems are very different from mammals and are very susceptible to damaging respiratory influences. Ammonia in an overheated coop can be deadly.
Ventilation is not the same as drafts. Drafts blow directly on the chickens. Ventilation is well above their heads when they are standing on their roost. BTW the roost should always be higher than the nests. They will sleep in the highest point in the coop and they poop all night long. You don’t want poopy butts or poopy eggs. Ventilation openings should be 1sqft/chicken. I’ve found baffles to be the answer when a coop doesn’t have enough vents or room to add some.

I love your run. It’s adorable and looks secure. I’m assuming that’s hardware cloth not just chicken wire. I also secure my run on top we have had hawks sit in branches above the run and eventually they leave cuz they can’t get in. We have owls too. Night birds yes. But I see them fly over in midday every so often. Good job!
 

ANiceKaren

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
529
545
206
Frazier Park California
Personally I never put food inside a coop as it attracts predators, pests, and insects. Same for water as it increases humidity and the rule for the inside of a coop is bone dry all the time. There is one exception and that is when the birds need to be on lockdown for any length of time. The first reason any flock keeper needs to lockdown their birds is when starting a flock in their new home. The problem is they don’t realize that it is their home yet. Since they are all very young the first thing I do is set up a food and water station. In the case of a small coop with little room it goes in the nesting area that they will not be using for several weeks anyway. The birds are locked in 24 hours a day for about 2 weeks. During this time they become very comfortable inside knowing their way around feeling secure. It becomes their home. It becomes their sanctuary. They feel safe. Chickens don’t like the dark so they like a place that feels safe. When the time is up you let them out into the run and move your food out there and the water out there. And at this time you give the inside of the coop a good going over to make sure there’s no feed residue left behind no water spills (water spills need to be cleaned up daily during lockdown.) and of course it’s a good time to freshen up their bedding. That night hopefully they will remember this lovely place that they call home and go inside on their own. However because it’s the very first night out they might not so you might need to herd them in. If you need to heard the men more than two nights in a row you might need to do a couple more days of lockdown. But usually they catch on. In the future when you add new chickens the older chickens will show them where to go. Although you might need to help them out the first few nights. Lockdown has always worked for me.



So true. Heat, moisture, and ammonia come from their poop. It rises and as it cools it drops back down. This makes the coop and the birds damp. In winter this freezes on the walls, bedding, roost, and worst of all on the birds. Chickens respiratory systems are very different from mammals and are very susceptible to damaging respiratory influences. Ammonia in an overheated coop can be deadly.
Ventilation is not the same as drafts. Drafts blow directly on the chickens. Ventilation is well above their heads when they are standing on their roost. BTW the roost should always be higher than the nests. They will sleep in the highest point in the coop and they poop all night long. You don’t want poopy butts or poopy eggs. Ventilation openings should be 1sqft/chicken. I’ve found baffles to be the answer when a coop doesn’t have enough vents or room to add some.

I love your run. It’s adorable and looks secure. I’m assuming that’s hardware cloth not just chicken wire. I also secure my run on top we have had hawks sit in branches above the run and eventually they leave cuz they can’t get in. We have owls too. Night birds yes. But I see them fly over in midday every so often. Good job!
Thank you so much!! This is my second “season” with chickens and after winter last year I knew I needed a more secure, roofed run where I didn’t need to worry about predators and snow! I got very annoyed with banging snow off my roof daily! Ha! The babies coop isn’t ideal I know… I have a larger coop for them to eventually transition into but that where my big girls sleep and no one is ready for that intro yet! Haha!
 

ANiceKaren

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
529
545
206
Frazier Park California
So they are now almost 11 weeks and STILL won’t go into their coop at night… they insist on sleeping in the roof. I carry them in every night 😂 I’m seriously debating about just letting them roost on top… my run is completely secure and covered.. I just don’t know why they don’t like the coop 😂
 

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