Chickens not coming home

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mj75, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. mj75

    mj75 New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2011
    So I'm a first time chicken owner and I'm having a very frustrating problem: my chickens don't come in at night if they can help it.

    My back yard has a fence at the back but no fences on the sides (and it's not feasible to fence the yard in). I have a 3-chicken flock with a pretty small coop, and I was letting them free range but one night they didn't come home, they must have slept somewhere else. After a few days I managed to catch them and stick them back in the coop for several days. Then I had some success for about a week scattering food around 5-6pm inside their run, waiting for them to go in, and then closing the door. They'll go in the coop once they're in the fully enclosed run and can't get out and it's night time.

    After having to catch them twice I left them in the coop / fully enclosed run all week, and today I built a pen with 40" garden fencing... over 200 square feet, plenty of space... but it doesn't have a roof. They were happily playing around in the pen (I included some of the cedars they like hanging around to help them feel safe) but when I went out after dusk they were nowhere to be seen again.

    What do I have to do to get them to come back to the coop and stay there at night? Should I put more netting up higher to keep them in? They're about 14 weeks old and I don't want to worry about them laying eggs where I can't gather them!
     
  2. Hoosierchickens

    Hoosierchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 9, 2011
    Cloverdale, IN
    When you first introduced them to the coop, did you leave them closed up in it for a week or two? Doing so helps them associate the coop as their safe roosting place and they will return to it every evening on their own.
     
  3. mj75

    mj75 New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2011
    When you first introduced them to the coop, did you leave them closed up in it for a week or two?

    Yup. I mean, they weren't "closed up," they were allowed to be out in the run. They went in there at about 5-6 weeks, and I didn't let them free range for quite some time after that. I'd let them have outside time in a confined area and then return them to the coop.​
     
  4. Tenmore

    Tenmore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 2, 2011
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    They need to locked up in coop to know where home is just the coop for several days. Hop eyou can break this habbit good luck
     
  5. mj75

    mj75 New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2011
    Quote:I'll give it another shot definitely. I'm starting to worry that they see being in the coop as punishment, though. [​IMG] I scatter food near it and they won't go over.
     
  6. Hoosierchickens

    Hoosierchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 9, 2011
    Cloverdale, IN
    I closed mine in the coop for a week and didn't let them out. Another thing you might do is to evaluate your coop setup and features. If something isn't quite right they might find another option that they like better. It pays to spoil them with creature comforts in the coop. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011

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