A little worried -- Will chickens go to bed by themselves?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lauraleigh, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. lauraleigh

    lauraleigh In the Brooder

    Jul 4, 2010
    Hi! Very new here, and don't have chickens yet. Before I assume something, I need to know -- will chickens go to bed by themselves, that is, if I'm not home when the sun goes down, will they gather themselves up and head for the coop all on their own? And when I get home at 10 p.m., if any are not in place, can I get them inside and close up the coop at that time, or will that just be too wrong?

    More elementary questions to come, believe me.

  2. bigdaddyabc

    bigdaddyabc Songster

    May 5, 2010
    When I go out at 8:45 p.m. every night, my whole flock is in the coop. I occasionally have to shoo in a straggler or tow, but mostly they look at me like "shut that door!" If I don't get out there until 9 or later I have to be careful to not disturb them in their cooing and falling asleep. I read on here that leaving them in the coop for a couple of days helped acclimate them to the idea that food, water, sleep, and safety happen in the coop. I intergrated 3 new hens a couple of weeks ago, and they just followed the flock on the first night. In short, they seem to get it pretty quickly.
  3. cindy99

    cindy99 Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Tioga County PA
    I am new too so shouldn't be giving advice but I can tell you that mine come in just before dark. Every once in a while I will have to lure a smaller one (6 weeks) in with snacks - the 2 older ones (4 months old) always are in on time. [​IMG]
  4. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Songster

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    During the day our chickens are in an enclosed outdoor run.

    About an hour before dusk my husband and I go out for "chicken time" and pull up
    a couple of chairs and let the girls out to free range around us.

    As long as we can wait until dusk, they all go into the coop on their own. Once in a while
    there might be one or two still wanting to stay out but as soon as they become aware that
    the majority of the girls are inside they go running right in.

    Then the fun begins, watching them pick out their best spot on the roosts and find their
    roosting buddy.
  5. chknmama

    chknmama In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2010
    I am new to this too. My girls have been very good about putting them selves to bed especially when just in the run. However recently they have started to roost up on the roof of the coop if they have been free ranging and have access to it. [​IMG] So I offer them some tasty treats to lure them in the run before dusk and that has been working.[​IMG]

    You could install one of those automatic doors that would secure them in before you get home. If you build a coop with a secure run you should be just fine though.
  6. arch_cpj

    arch_cpj Songster

    Mar 19, 2010
    medina county
    been doing this since 1990 the trick to teaching the chicks (Im assuming you have a totally new flock) is to transfer them from the brooder to the coop and keep em in there 2 weeks If you have an out door run you can open that then if not them wait another week before free ranging by doing this they are anchored to the coop and will come home I also leave a little light on in the coop the first week they range and shut it of when I lock the coop up helps as they will go into the light and into the coop Ive yet to not have all the birds come in... If you are just adding replacements let em go they will follow the rest of the flock in...
  7. lauraleigh

    lauraleigh In the Brooder

    Jul 4, 2010
    After all your great replies, I feel much better. This week, I worked 80 hours (wow, didn't know that until just this minute), but this is unusual. (Thank goodness!) Being on my own, I won't get a flock if they can't go on automatic and tuck themselves in. I'll also make sure we're not testing software come Spring! [​IMG]
    LauraLeigh -- a super-duper wanna-be peep-keeper
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I was SO worried about my chickens during Standard Time, because I didn't get home from work until well after sunset - it would be full on dark. I would count heads when I got home, because they'd have put themselves in the coop and onto the roost bars. Then I'd close the pop door.

    So, when I built my second coop, I installed an automatic door and I've seen it work extremely well. I know that when we go back to Standard time and it's dark when I get home, all the chickens will be safely inside with the door already closed. (But I'll still do a head count AND have to close the doors on two other coops that don't have auto doors.... )
  9. PhilErvin

    PhilErvin Songster

    Sep 11, 2009
    Yucaipa, CA
    You'll want to lock them in their coop for at least a week, day and night when you first put them in the coop. Then after that you will let them out into the run. From there you will want to open the run door in the mornings and simply come along in the evening or after dark and lock the run door. They will put themselves to bed before dark. If any get left out you will want to pick them up and place them in the coop. The can not see in the dark so if they are left out on the ground or in a tree or on top of a wood pile or something they will stay there until some predator gets them or it gets light out. [​IMG]
  10. JSC

    JSC In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2008
    Union, Mo.
    I had a problem with ours not going in the coop at the end of the day. They would all huddle on top of one another in a corner of the run. I was afraid a raccoon or something would grab them thru the fence since they were piled up right next to the fence. I put a 25 watt bulb in the coop and the first night they were all in,been in ever since. If you do have any still out after dark,you can just walk right up to them and pick them up to put them in since they are "half asleep"

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