Chickens not sleeping in coop


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 5, 2013
Port Orchard, WA
I introduced my chickens to the coop at there 6 week mark. In the coop is just a roosting plank. Outside the coop is there run where there food and water is. Well the chickens won't go into the coop when it gets dark. So every night for the last week I pick them up and put them into the coop. They will stay in there the entire night until the sun comes out then they will walk down there ramp and eat there food for the day. Also through out the day I will watch the chickens and they will walk up there ramp and go in there. So I don't know what to do. Last night was my test run to see if they will go in there by themselves. Which I know they can. They do it throughout the day. But they didn't go in. They sleep outside in the run. I'm worried because rainy season is starting. How do I break them of this habit
Their willingness to go into the coop during the day, but reluctance to sleep in there at night makes me think you might have chicken mites (red roost mites) in the coop. These little bugs are mostly nocturnal and doesn't live in the host. They hide in cracks and crevices during the day come out to feed at night. They bite and suck blood from their hosts, unlike some other species. Treatment for these mites are best aimed at your coop, but you can give the chickens a dusting of good quality poultry dust as an added deterrent as well.
I think sumi is right about the mites.

Sevin dust is approved for use directly on poultry and their nests and is cheaply and easily acquired.
Even though they will stay in there when i put them in there at night. There is no door to lock them into the coop it's completely open. They just won't go in there at night by themselves. I'll pick them up put
them in there and they will stay all night then in the morning ill watch them come out to there food. I just put DE all over the place in the coop. I hope that will fix the mites if there is any.
I agree, treat for the red roost mites.
That said, I had the same problem recently and it was not mites. These 8 birds are a few days shy of 16 weeks now. They were moved to their permanent coop about 3 weeks ago. At that point, 2 of them were roosting, the other 6 were still sleeping in a pile. In and out of the coop all day, then two would use the run roost at night and the others would pile, also in the run. I was not having it, and would force them into the coop, where two used the roost and the others slept in a pile. After about 2 days, everybody just decided it was time to roost and no more pile, but still went to roost in the run...I'm still lugging chickens to the coop every night. This went on until about 10 days ago. As I was watching them one night, it suddenly dawned on me that the coop got really dark before the run...I'm thinking...chickens roost when dusk falls...they have poor night vision...they won't go into that really dark area when they can still see (slightly) in the run. I do not have lights/electricity in my coop. I ran a heavy duty extension cord and a rigged up 'drop light' chicken proofed with hardware cloth. I turned it on just before dusk. Voila! Chickens went into the coop! After everyone was settled in and it was dark outside, I'd turn off the light. I did that for about a week. Then I left the light off and they headed to the coop at dusk on their own, just a little earlier than they would roost in the run. 3 days of them going in on their own and I'm removing the light today.
Besides the light, do watch for mites. DE will help prevent them, but will not cure an active infestation. No matter how many magical properties people give it, it doesn't kill bugs so much as make them uncomfortable. In my entomology class, the prof put out a dish of DE and had slugs and mites and other critters just walking around in it. They certainly didn't die.

Also, my avian vet says that DE is terrible for chickens' lungs. Do be careful with it.
I use bleach. use a spray bottle and make sure you get it into the crakes. keep the chickens out till the walls dry. clean the coop real good (litter, cob webs, anything and every thing including the feeders and nest boxes.) then I hose the coop down with water. after the coop dries out then is when I spray with bleach. its going to take most of the day on so start in the morning so it has the time to dry. but it's worth it. I'll spray my coop down twice a year.
Also when moving birds into a new coop I leave them locked in the coop for at lest the first night. sometimes I'll move them at night after it gets dark. put the feed and water in the coop for the first few day's . Chickens are animals and naturally sleep out side unless you get them used to sleeping inside.

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