chickens refuse to go in coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by enjoyin' my chickens, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. enjoyin' my chickens

    enjoyin' my chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2011
    Hinesville, Ga
    I built this really large run for my first three chickens (10x10). 1 week later I added five more chickens to the flock and started building the coop. Once I had the underside of the coop fenced in I opened it to the chickens from inside the run. They were ecstatic to get in and enjoy the new space (4x8). So this was a very happy day. I couldn't wait to get the coop finished so that they could go in it to sleep. I got it done and opened to the run with a ramp that goes up to it and they refuse to go in. Once in a while Fog Horn will go in and check it out but he comes out almost immediately. When night fall comes all the chickens roost outside on the original roosts. They refuse to go in. Is there something that I can do to get them to at least go in to the coop at night? I am not wanting the hens to start laying eggs outside and I am afraid that they are going to do just that if I can't get them interested in the coop. Please any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    Yes, there are several techniques you can use to get your chickens to roost inside to coop.
    Here are a few:

    Lock them all in the coop for a week or two and dont let them in the run where the outside roosts are, at all. They will roost inside and get used to it. Ive found this to work well but it isnt practical if the coop is really small or if the weather is really hot, and, of course, you have to move a feeder and waterer inside.

    Or: Turn on a light inside the coop. The chickens may be attracted to going inside at dusk rather than staying outside in the dark. Ive had only marginal success with this.

    Or: Physically move them from their outside roosts to their inside roosts well after dark each night until they get the idea and shut the coop door until morning. Ive had pretty good success with this if I move them every night for about a week.

    Or: Or just remove their outside roosts and block any other spots they can roost on outside. If they then try to roost on the ground or feeders outside, just move them to the inside roosts well after dark and they should get the idea. As long as you have outside roosts, you may have some birds that prefer to roost out there.
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    I would do both of the last 2 items mentioned on the last post. Even if you get them to roost in the coop by closing off the door to the run every night for a week or two, there will always be the occasional bird who chooses to go out to the alternative roost once you finally leave it open again. (usually a low-on-the-peck-order bird who does not want to experience the jostling and bullying that goes on when they compete for roosting spot in the evening).

    So, remove the old roost and put birds in coop every night for a week or two, and close the door to the run at night during those 1-2 wks.
  4. enjoyin' my chickens

    enjoyin' my chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2011
    Hinesville, Ga
    Thank you for the ideas I will try them out and post my findings as I get them. I appreciate the responses. I am new to this and just can't wait for the eggs.
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    My girls would rather roost outside also, not realizing it is safer in the coop. HOWEVER...a plate full of goodies ALWAYS gets them in at bedtime!! Food is a great motivator to head into the coop!! I have a mix of scratch, sunflower chips, peanuts and assorted wild bird food that I only feed at bed time. They go absolutely nuts over it, and would rather get locked in the coop than miss out on this treat!!

    So find something they go "ga-ga" over and only feed it at bed time. Lure them in the coop with it. Be ready to shut the door behind them, and nobody will ever want to sleep outside again!
    Good luck! [​IMG]
  6. pirtykitty

    pirtykitty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2008
    Waco, Texas
    I had to bribe my three for a short time after we got their night pen fixed up... Then they started going in at dusk... Now if I want them in early I have to bribe with treats. They go gaga over strawberries and or black oil sunflower seeds.. Oh they also like cantalope seeds.. and watermelon seeds..
  7. enjoyin' my chickens

    enjoyin' my chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2011
    Hinesville, Ga
    On Tuesday I took the roosts out of the run completely and put the chickens in their coop. Fog Horn got on a roost for the night and the rest to my knowledge slept on the floor. The rest of this week they have been staying right near the door and sleeping. Only a couple have figured out what the roosts are for. I will not let up until they all are roosting in the coop of the night. I am going to try to get a soft light in the coop this weekend, so maybe that will help them find their way. Are there any other suggestions?
  8. enjoyin' my chickens

    enjoyin' my chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 13, 2011
    Hinesville, Ga
    So they have been without outside roosts for a week now and they all gather in the coop for roosting of the night. I still have about half that are sleeping on the floor but we are making progress. I still need to get that soft light installed. Over the weekend we let them out into the back yard and they went wild. such a big area and not knowing what to do with it. We even had Baloo out in the yard with them and all the more that she paid any mind to them is she sniffed them the way that dogs do. So hopefully she will be just as good with them as some of y'alls dogs are.
  9. 1springchicken

    1springchicken New Egg

    Aug 22, 2011
    Thank you for this question. I was trying to be stubborn and wait them out. I have a light in my coop and actually, they were roosting fine until about 2-3 weeks after I put it in. IT'S 23 degrees out! Yet there they stand. Very frustrating. I will take some of this advice (like the treats inside and closing them in). I'm going to start by getting them in, closing their coop door and follow this for a week. Such a waste when they have this huge yard but... oh well. Keep me posted on how it's working for you by trial and error would you? Thanks everyone.

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