Chickens won't go in coop at night

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by crankyyanky1, May 23, 2016.

  1. crankyyanky1

    crankyyanky1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I need help, I am new to raising chickens. My chickens are about 8 weeks old. We built a coop for them and they were fine with going in it at night in the beginning. I lock them in at night because we have all kinds of animals that could get them at night. In the beginning when they were small I kept them in the chicken coop yard that we built now that they are bigger I let them free range in our yard at night they go back to the coop but they sit on the porch of the coop it has railing that they like to roost on, we repurposed my son's old playhouse into the chicken coop. Since they started free ranging at night I actually have to take them off the porch and put them inside which is a pain I don't understand why they are not going in on their own anymore. I have hay inside nest boxes and lots of perches for them. Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. MelissaC18

    MelissaC18 New Egg

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    I'm certainly no expert, but once my chickens find a "favorite" place to be... They just keep going there. I know people say if you lock them inside the coop for a couple days they will go back in there at night. That feels like a stressful thing for the chickens to me though, but that is certainly just my feeling. If you don't want to put them on lockdown, a great trick may be to offer them treats inside the coop to bribe them to come in for a few evenings (shortly BEFORE they roost for the night) then lock them in when they go in to eat. Another idea: maybe you could try taking away the rail until they have reestablished their inside space as home. If you can't remove it, try covering it with something that they don't like walking on, or have a hard time balancing on. Also, placing them inside, like you are, for a few more nights may actually do the trick. They are still babies and need to be shown quite a few times before they learn. I've got young chickens too and sometimes I feel like the new mom that is just screwing everything up for my kids. :) Everything is just trial and error and getting new ideas from other chicken mammas and pappas!
     
  3. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens were pretty much the same.

    You have to put them in coop yourself for the next few days--- for them to get used to the new coop instead of the brooder. After a few days they will learn that the coop is their new sleeping area and they will go in on their own :)

    my chickens took about 2 days or so to learn to go in and out of the coop on their own.

    the run is locked but my coop is always opened (no door).. it's easier for me.. i can't be waking up at 5:30-6AM each day to let them out.. they will do it on their own.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  4. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I put mine in a new coop I would physically go around and collect them from all the cedar trees, pine trees, gazebo rafters, etc. using a ladder and the help of DH and DD's. After a couple of days they got the idea. I would lock them out at night and not open the door until around 9 a.m. This usually encouraged the girls to lay in the nest. One young rooster decided after a year to star roosting in a tall pine tree by my bedroom window and would crow half the night. We tried several times to relocate him back to the roost to no avail. He became chicken and dumplings.

    I had a tall chicken coop with open rafters that the chickens enjoyed roosting on. I did have to be careful opening the door in the morning because of them swooping down in the mornings. Mine were free range and just before dark I would go near the coup and call them and throw down a couple handfuls of scratch for encouragement. They would then just hang around until they decided to go to bed and I shut them in. I think with predator danger it is important to teach them to go in at night. It doesn't really hurt them to pen them up a couple of days if you have a big enough coup. With lots of perches like my rafters it gives them a lot of room. If you have a good fence around your coup then it might not matter as much but we live out in the country with opossums, raccoons, foxes, bobcats, wild boars, hawks, owls, snakes, etc. Even in town you may have some of these predators in additions to neighbors dogs and cats.
     
  5. crankyyanky1

    crankyyanky1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the info they were going into the coop ok up until last week when I let them out of the chicken yard to free range they hang out at the coop at night but don't go in. For a week now I have been putting them in myself. Still they sit on the front porch of coop. I would let them out I live in a rural area right next to the woods with all kinds of predators racoons, coyotes, and possums who knows what else. But the neighbor who lives next door just lost 2 chickens to a racoon his rooster and 1 of his girls so I really need to lock them up at night their chicken yard that their coop is rather big and has a 10 ft fence around it but we don't have any netting on top.I will try some treats they go crazy for mealworms that may be what I have to do![​IMG]
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At the risk of coming off sounding like a smart ***, lets go with Occam's razor. "The simplest answer is often times the correct one"

    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

    It could be that your birds simply prefer to be out in the open vs. cooped up inside the coop. Just because we have gone to the trouble to build them what we think is a really nice home and we think that is where they should go doesn't mean they agree.

    Lets take two examples we can relate to.......warm summer day...........a hot, stuff, fully enclosed garden shed......windows perhaps, but few if any vents......or.......screened in porch with a roof that is about 30 to 40 degrees cooler with a nice breeze blowing through. If I were looking for a place to hang, I'd go with the screened in porch.

    So.....the open porch, with a roost space is likely to be more comfortable.....cooler and better ventilated......than the inside of the coop. So goal would be to have the coop emulate the conditions found on the porch. In addition to offering protection, is it well ventilated? If not, can you make it so?

    Even that may not induce them to go inside if they have other options. Most likely they would roost in a tree if given a chance.......unaware, beyond a basic instinct that every predator on the planet is out to get them. In nature, chickens would be pretty prolific breeders and with good reason. In nature, a lot of them would be captured and eaten!
     
  7. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where is the chicken door to the coop? Underneath? My first thought is that they start to feel the need to roost before it gets dark so they hop up on the porch. Then as it gets darker their poor night vision prevents them from leaving the relative security of the higher porch to go looking for the entrance to the coop. Maybe the easiest solution is to cut a small chicken door in the front door and call it good.

    My second thought is that the coop looks pretty small. What are the dimensions? You have 8 birds, right? And you suspect at least half of them are cockerals, correct? They might not like such close quarters. Even though the space on the porch is small, it feels more open. How is the inside of the coop configured? Could you post a pic?

    Lastly, ventilation is key so as someone already mentioned, a stuffy coop isn't a nice place to sleep.
     
  8. crankyyanky1

    crankyyanky1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:The coop is about 5 x 10 and tall enough for me to stand up in and I am 5' 4" we only have the one window in the door and the roof rafters are open for ventilation, I asked my husband about putting another window in he is worried that is more room for a predator to get in, A chicken breeder about 2 miles down the road last night lost 75 chickens 50 dead 24 comp gone assuming they are all dead so sad. So we are really trying to balance being careful with opening it up more for them. I think the vision thing might really play a part when I turned on the brooding light I had inside, they went in with no problem. I will try putting another window in and maybe changing the heat light to a reg light maybe that will entice them to go in at night. I did have 8 birds but I asked what everyone thought on the breed and sex post and they thought at least 3 roos so yesterday I found 2 of the roos a new home. So now I am down to 6. It was very hard like giving up a pet dog I was really sad!
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At 8 weeks and if fully feathered, they can be weaned from the heat lamp.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto....... no need for heat lamp for sure......even if you are located somewhere that's still chilly.
    It's 85 here today and I just opened all the windows in the coop.....my 8 week olds have been off heat for a month.

    I hope your open eaves(rafter ends) are covered securely with 1/2" hardware cloth.
    More windows for light and ventilation are always good.
     

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