Chickens not Using Coop at night

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickenJake, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. ChickenJake

    ChickenJake New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2008
    I am new to raising chickens, I have black australorps that are about 8 weeks old. I had them in a smaller coop inside the barn for the first 4 weeks because it was warmer. The used the inside part at night and the fenced area during the day. When they got their feathers I moved them to an out door pen sort of like a two story chicken tractor.

    My question is, they will not go inside at night, they all just bunch together on the ground in one of the corners. What can I do to get them to roost inside?

    I tried putting a light upstairs thinking they may go under it for heat, I tried removing the food from the lower level a couple hours before dark, but they just eat the grass before going to sleep.

    They will go up and down the ramp during the day no problem, I have food and water up stairs and that is the only place there are roosts. At night I carry them, or try to chase them up the ramp and close them in, hoping eventually they might do it on their own. I have 1/4 inch mesh around the bottom, but I am pretty sure something will eventually get them. There are just too many weasels, coons, mink, opossum, fox, coyote, cats, etc around.

    Any ideas are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    I had to chase my little ones in every night and lock them up for a couple weeks after i started letting them outside. Once you do that for a week or two they will start doing it all on their own. It can be frustrating. The easiest way is to get a fishing net with real small holes. You can catch the birds and put them in, like catching butterflies.

    Good Luck

    Nick
     
  3. OHChick

    OHChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    did you give them the chicken manual to read? mine came knowing what to do. [​IMG] seriously, it sounds like you are doing everything right. mine did not like putting themselves up at first, but then the light in there did the trick. we used a bright light for a while but now just a nightlight. i am lucky though as well, my rooster rounds up the girls and gets rather ticked off if one of his girls does not come inside at the proper time.

    with longer days, is it possible they're just not ready for bed yet? what time are you checking on them?
     
  4. cluckychick

    cluckychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    My chickens will not go in the coop unless a light is on. We have the light on a timer and it comes on at 8:30. At 8:15 they stand in front of the coop cackling and making all kinds of ruckus waiting for the light to come on. We love to sit out and watch them. At 10:00 it goes off. Went out this morning and apparently one did not get in the coop on time, she was still outside [​IMG] She sure was happy when I opened the coop up and all her sisters came running out.

    Can they see the light from their vantage point outside their door?
     
  5. GallowayFarms

    GallowayFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The light didn't seem to work for me. I do about 50 broilers a year and get 15 new hens every spring and every year when it is time to let them out and about I know I am going to have to spend 10 - 15 mins a night chasing chicks for about a week.

    It is great exercise.

    Cheers

    Nick
     
  6. ChickenJake

    ChickenJake New Egg

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    Jun 10, 2008
    Thanks for all the suggestions, I guess I just need to keep doing it. It gets dark around 10:00 pm, and that is roughly when I have been putting them in. It is pretty much as dark as it will get by then.

    They can for sure see the light, the timer sounds like a good idea. I will give that a try. I thought about keeping them locked up for a few days as well.

    I move the whole pen about 10 feet every day, do you think that is messing them up? They always gather in the part closest to where it was the night before.
     
  7. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Just about every thread I have read on this says to keep them locked inside the coop for a week or even two before letting them out to range or in the run...good luck...I would try locking them up for a while [​IMG]
     
  8. MiniDriver

    MiniDriver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 15, 2007
    Massachusetts
    For the first few days out, I went out at dusk to find they were clustered in corner of the run, terrified and peeping franticly. I shooed them into the coop, and shut the door. They peeped for a few minutes and then were quiet.

    Now I go out at dusk and they are already in the coop, waiting for me to shut them in. They don't seem as afraid of the dark when they're in there.

    I think it just took them a while to realize coop=safe place away from cats and other night visitors.
     

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