Chickens won't get in their coop!

hatchies

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
24
0
35
I have five 13 week old chickens who have been outside for about 8 weeks. For a while we kept them inside the coop 24/7 until they were used to the it and big enough to roam around the yard on their own. But each night they gather around or even on top of the coop and wait until we come and put them away, shutting the door to keep predators out. We did have a break through tonight when ONE finally got in on her own but squawked for the others who were nestled together on top.

What can we do to get them to go inside on their own? We will be leaving town in a week or two for about five days and plan on having our neighbor shut the door for them each night. We don't want to make it his responsibility to have to put them away, especially because they are not used to him and they could get nervous, causing problems while we are away. I would like the peace of mind knowing they got inside all alone and all he had to do was make sure they have food, water and a closed door!

How can we train them better. I would hate to try to teach them a lesson by leaving them out all night or something for fear a predator would find them. Plus, I'm pretty attached to those darn birds!
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Thanks in advance for your help! I love BYC!!!
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You guys make it a lifesaver!
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Michael Apple

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
3,495
586
318
Northern California
You can't teach a chicken a lesson. All you can do is use a routine they will follow. Are their feeders placed inside or outside the coop? I start chicks at around 4 or 5 weeks depending on weather in a grow off pen attached to a coop. I treat the coop like their brooder by keeping a red lamp on, hanging a feeder, and placing a waterer in the coop at night. In the morning I let them have the option to go out and investigate the pen. I tempt them by placing their feed and water station out of the coop. They follow the feed. When evening comes, repeat the process for a few days, then remove the feed and water instead of placing it in the coop. It may take a few days or a few weeks. Others may have some methods that actually work too. If your neighbor isn't familiar with chickens, you'd do well to find someone who is that can help. Chickens aren't the kind of animal that make it convenient to take vacations. Dawn tending and dusk tending is daily routine.
 

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