Chickens sleeping outside coop

coryn

In the Brooder
Jun 25, 2020
5
17
19
Nicasio, CA
I have a flock of 12 hens and a rooster. They have a spacious coop and the backyard is fenced. I have an automated door that opens early and closes in the late evening.

Over the summer months, my flock has taken to camping out in the yard, about half of them sleeping on various perch spots rather than going into the coop. For a few weeks, I chased them back in every night, but it didn't change their behavior.

Safety-wise, they are OK at night with the dog on patrol and them being next to the house.

We are traveling in September and I want to get them back into the coop routine so they are safe at night. The dog cannot be here alone (a family member will visit every other day to work and water, as he has done in the past.)

Long story short, does anyone have any ideas on how to get them back into the coop at night? Should I lock them in for a few days?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,654
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SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
They have a spacious coop
What does "spacious' equal in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics(inside and out) would really help here.

Any chances there are bugs or other pests(rodents, reptiles, etc) in the coop?
Do you have a weather and predator proof run?

Is it hot where you live?
Maybe it's cooler outside of the coop.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1629367261985.png
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,158
17,018
706
USA
I have an automated door that opens early and closes in the late evening.

Over the summer months, my flock has taken to camping out in the yard

As the days got longer in the spring, did you adjust the door's closing time?

If the door was closing while the chickens were still outside enjoying the daylight, they would have to sleep outside, and by now it's probably become a habit.

I would also check whether the coop has enough ventilation to keep it from getting too hot.

Long story short, does anyone have any ideas on how to get them back into the coop at night? Should I lock them in for a few days?

Either lock them in for a few days, or shut them in the coop halfway through the afternoon each day. You could get them in with bribes, or herd them in. If they are already inside the coop when they start thinking about sleep, they will have to put themselves to bed in the right place, and that is what they need to practice.

(For bribing the chickens into the coop, I like to use a dish of wet chicken food. It's safe to give as much as they want, so the first ones can stand there gobbling it up while I shoo the stragglers in. And they cannot pick up pieces and run back outside to eat them, either.)
 

coryn

In the Brooder
Jun 25, 2020
5
17
19
Nicasio, CA
What does "spacious' equal in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics(inside and out) would really help here.

Any chances there are bugs or other pests(rodents, reptiles, etc) in the coop?
Do you have a weather and predator proof run?

Is it hot where you live?
Maybe it's cooler outside of the coop.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2803506

It's 48 sq ft, half with wood walls and half with hardware cloth walls and a metal roof, and about 6' high. It's a really nice coop. The area around it is hardened to keep out critters and I've never seen signs of them getting in as we keep a camera on it. put in extra perch space long ago. They were quite happy up until recently. It gets up to the low 90's during the day, though we've had a cool summer. Nights are always in the 50's or low 60's. We're near the coast so get a wide range of temperatures. No pests.

Last night, only one chicken was out, and she went groggily into the coop without complaint, so maybe they are getting back to normal. I'm going to try giving them treats.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,654
143,694
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop

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