Chickens Won’t Go Into Top of coop!! Help!

sarahssilkies

In the Brooder
Oct 23, 2018
20
17
34
NH
My chickens will only go into the bottom portion of the coop/run. They never go up the ramp into the actual enclosed coop where their roosting boxes are. This concerns me since it is getting colder and they are exposed much more in the bottom half that has wired walls...

My hens are also 5-6 months old and I’m expecting them to start laying soon... I don’t know if they even know their roosting boxes exist either.

Any tips/tricks would be helpful!! I attached a picture of the coop for reference.

Thanks!
 

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Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
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Sep 20, 2015
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Southern N.C. Mountains
My chickens will only go into the bottom portion of the coop/run. They never go up the ramp into the actual enclosed coop where their roosting boxes are. This concerns me since it is getting colder and they are exposed much more in the bottom half that has wired walls...

My hens are also 5-6 months old and I’m expecting them to start laying soon... I don’t know if they even know their roosting boxes exist either.

Any tips/tricks would be helpful!! I attached a picture of the coop for reference.

Thanks!
Welcome To BYC!

How many pullets do you have?
It's hard to tell - how big is your coop?
Where do they sleep at night - in the "run" portion?
Do they get any time out of the run, say get to go in the yard to scratch around?

If they refuse to go in at night, you will have to "train" them. Put them in the coop at night and shut the door. I would worry there is not much ventilation in your coop, but again, it's hard to tell by the photo.
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,399
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Lock them inside the coop for 2 days let em out and if they stay outside again lock them up another two nights. Gotta convince them its their home. But if you have more than 3 or 4 hens in that small coop then space might be an issue keeping them confined inside of it for 2 days at a time.
 

sarahssilkies

In the Brooder
Oct 23, 2018
20
17
34
NH
Welcome To BYC!

How many pullets do you have?
It's hard to tell - how big is your coop?
Where do they sleep at night - in the "run" portion?
Do they get any time out of the run, say get to go in the yard to scratch around?

If they refuse to go in at night, you will have to "train" them. Put them in the coop at night and shut the door. I would worry there is not much ventilation in your coop, but again, it's hard to tell by the photo.


So I have 4 pullets - all fairly small silkie breed.

They sleep in the downstairs run portion- they never go upstairs up the ramp....

I open the coop door and they free range around the area all day long!!

My issue isn’t getting them into the coop @ night, they go in as soon as it’s dark and I shut the door - my issue is that they always stay in the lower run area and I’d feel much better if they were upstairs!
 

sarahssilkies

In the Brooder
Oct 23, 2018
20
17
34
NH
Lock them inside the coop for 2 days let em out and if they stay outside again lock them up another two nights. Gotta convince them its their home. But if you have more than 3 or 4 hens in that small coop then space might be an issue keeping them confined inside of it for 2 days at a time.

They are going into the coop fine at night!! It’s not that they’re staying outside... it’s when they do go into the coop, they stay on the lower level
In the “run” as opposed to up the ramp in the home part.
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,399
1,590
297
They are going into the coop fine at night!! It’s not that they’re staying outside... it’s when they do go into the coop, they stay on the lower level
In the “run” as opposed to up the ramp in the home part.
Ohhh I misread! How large is the roost pole? I know some of mine didnt like a thin roost and would always stay on the lower level, nothing wrong with that. I did add a 2x4 with the wide side facing up so they could roost on it. Also with the coop being small make sure they have plenty of head space, if the roost is too high they might prefer it lower in the coop.
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
36,568
51,386
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
So I have 4 pullets - all fairly small silkie breed.
They sleep in the downstairs run portion- they never go upstairs up the ramp....
I open the coop door and they free range around the area all day long!!
My issue isn’t getting them into the coop @ night, they go in as soon as it’s dark and I shut the door - my issue is that they always stay in the lower run area and I’d feel much better if they were upstairs!
They are going into the coop fine at night!! It’s not that they’re staying outside... it’s when they do go into the coop, they stay on the lower level
In the “run” as opposed to up the ramp in the home part.
The "Coop" is the little house part. The "Run" is the wire enclosure.

From what I understand, Silkies don't climb very well, so likely they won't use the ramp, especially if it's steep to get into the coop (house). You will have to put them in there every night for the time being. I think @Ridgerunner had suggestions for people with Silkies - maybe making steps so they could learn to hop up and down?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,245
20,001
857
Southeast Louisiana
Hi, Sarah, welcome to the forum.. Glad you joined. :frow

Where are you located? That might give us a clue what you mean when you say nights are turning cool. I don't know if you mean into the 60's Fahrenheit or well below zero. Just how important is it that they do sleep upstairs? If you modify your profile to show location that information is always available. That information can come in handy for many things, not just climate.

Thanks for including that they are Silkies, that helps. Silkies cannot fly. That can make them a little more challenging than other chickens. They can jump and walk up certain slopes but getting down just might be more intimidating than going up. A lot of times they can do things but just don't want to. What reason in their mind do they have for going upstairs?

Not all Silkies roost either, sometimes they are quite happy sleeping in a low spot. If they do roost that might be a reason for them to go upstairs. What does the inside of that coop look like? As small as it appears to be based on the nest size the roost is probably pretty low and accessible but maybe not. Could you possibly post a photo of the inside of the coop?

That ramp may be a bit steep. Is it attached in a way that you can put a block or something under the low end and flatten it out some? They could hop up onto the block and then go up the ramp. Or maybe add a couple of cleats across it to give them a better grip with their feet. Or maybe replace it with steps. They are bantams so maybe steps 6" high, 6" deep, and about a foot wide should work.

If you want to train them to sleep upstairs the best way I've found is to go out there at night after they are settled down to sleep and lock them in the upstairs coop section overnight. Not sure you can lock them in there but hopefully you can. I've been through this with elevated coops before. Sometimes I only have to lock them upstairs once and they learn. Sometimes it may take 3 weeks before they are all going upstairs on their own. Be patient and consistent and they should learn.

As small as that coop appears to be I'd be down there pretty early the next morning to let them out, at least for the first few mornings until you are sure they are OK together locked in there. They probably will be OK locked in there, but it's a reasonable precaution I take when I first lock mine in overnight. Usually it just takes one or two mornings before I'm comfortable leaving them locked in there until later if I want to sleep in. The next morning I'd just open the door and walk away. Let them get used to finding their way down.

If you can you might try setting one or two of them on the roosts when you move them upstairs. You may not have good access. I don't do that, I just lock them in and let them work out where they will sleep, but if you can get one to start sleeping on the roosts that may keep them from sleeping in the nests.

Good luck with it. Lots of people go through what you are seeing and it is not always with Silkies. Just because the others can fly up doesn't mean they always want to.
 

MANNA-PRO

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