Chickens with insomnia: Why won't they go to the coop?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by katelk, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN
    I have a flock of buff and English Orps.
    I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get them to go to the coop on their own at bedtime!
    They will still be scratching and pecking around the yard hours after dark!
    I have tried everything, even putting the feeder in the coop. Nothing works. They free range all day and never seem to want to stop, even though their crops feel very full. I have tried waiting them out to see if they will eventually go in there, but they don't. They just gather around on the shed porch and stand there waiting for their first class shuttle to the roost(me!!)
    While I am sure I could use the workout, catching and carrying each chicken to the coop is not how I love spending a portion of every night! Lol any advice??
     
  2. mrballance

    mrballance Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2013
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Is there something in the coop at night that is bothering them ? Mites or rats or anything like that ? How long has this been going on ? How old are they ?
     
  3. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    Half of them just started laying in the past 1-2 months and the other half should be laying any day. The layers go in there to lay in the nest boxes no problem. The coop is brand new and there is no way that there are rats or pests in there. I clean the coop several times a week. The ladies have been acting this way since we finished this coop several months ago. Before this, they were crammed into their chick coop and would go in there at night like clockwork.
    Also, I constantly check the ladies for mites and other bugs.
    The coop is 12x9 and 6 foot tall inside. I have a concrete foundation and use pine shavings and treat with DE on the floor. I have one long roost across the back wall that is 12 feet long.
    Once I get them all IN the coop they have no issue getting up to the roost and finding a spot on their own. It is just the getting to the coop that is the issue.
    I just don't get it because they go in and out of the coop all day, but at night they act like kids that don't want to go to bed. From what I have read this is unusual, I just don't get it and don't know how to "train" them.
     
  4. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    Chickens are creatures of habit. You have changed their routine and now their new routine is you shuttling them off to roost. I would suggest to get them to flock close to the coop about 20 minutes before roosting time. You can do this by offering them treats (crickets\meal worms and yogurt) for a few days. When it is just about sun down place each bird into their roosting spots. After a few days the birds should do this on their own and with no treats. I still like to give mine treats... Good luck!

    -Frozen Wing
     
  5. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    I am definitely going to try this! Maybe giving treats sooner before dark will help. I do know this doesn't work with their feed. They will just pass up feed when they realize I am trying to get them to the coop. Maybe mealworms though. They love that.
     
  6. FrozenWings

    FrozenWings Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, mine ignore me when I try to get them in to their enclosed run when they are free ranging. Unless I have a treat for them, they seem to know when it not interesting, but mine LOVE yogurt crickets, and meal worms. My birds are lost if I change the coop configuration, door opening widths, roosting placements, etc... It disrupts their whole routine. My flock got extremely confused and slept outside the night I painted my ramp to the coop. Again good luck, let me know how it turns out.

    -Frozen Wings
     
  7. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    White Bluff, TN

    That is hilarious! It amazes me how something so small can have such an impact haha!
     
  8. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    We have a SLW that has so far never gone into the coop at night. She goes in during the day to lay but The first night we put them out they were about 11 weeks old. We were adding them to an existing flock. They were cautious around our older hens but so small then all five could roost on the ledge of the windows coop windows (about 7 feet off the coop floor. It took a few weeks for any of them to go in to the coop on their own and a few months more for them to finally roost on the top roost.

    All except Panda. At 9 month old she has never gone into the coop for the night and we had to put her up on the roost for months. A few weeks ago we shut the windows for the winter so now she sits on top of the egg boxes (it really seems like she is waiting for us) At this point we can toss her into the hen door when we go out to shut it for the night and she gets up to the top roost on her own. Stupid chicken.
     

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