Chickens won't go inside and stopped laying


9 Years
Oct 6, 2010
Hello, I have a flock of 17 hens and 1 rooster. The have a very nice coop with ample floor and roost space, but the silly chickens will not go inside at night to roost. They all stay out in thier fenced-in yard and roost on the roots of a big tree. Two or three sometimes sleep inside but when they do, it in a nest box. Also, I should add that I live in Alaska and it is starting to get cold here at night, into the low 30's. Am I correct to assume that they know what they are doing and will go inside when it gets colder?

Another question, they have also all but stopped laying. I know that the dimishing daylight hours have a lot to do with that but they never go inside except for eating and drinking so having the light on inside the coop doesn't seem to be doing any good. My husband is now installing and outside light to light up their yard. Might that help?

Thanks in advance for any answers to these questions.

i think in order to teach them to go in on their own and roost in there you might have to lock them in for a few days. Once they know and find their spots in the coop they will likely stop roosting in the tree at night. Anyhow that is what I would do if I was in your shoes, but someone else on here with more experience could possibly give you a better solution hopefully.
I'm having the EXACT same problem! I have Speckled Sussex hens and they're supposed to be quite cold hardy and will lay even in the winter. but they've stopped laying this week and its only October

I was thinking that maybe if I could get them to sleep inside the coop they might be less cold stressed and then start laying again.

I wish you luck! Let me know if you figure anything out and if adding the light works for you!
I would try making what is so comfortable to them uncomfortable. Can you put things on top of the tree roots like old cans, bottles, etc. to make them want to look for other sleeping quarters. They will probably get more interested to see where the other 3 chickens are sleeping. Just make sure what ever you put in place that they cannot roost... sharp edges and jagged would be good. It will be a temporary eye sore until your hens have learned to go inside.
Check and make sure that the coop is not infested with red mites. Possibly the mites were feeding on them when they roosted inside. Check crevices, cracks- move the roost. They hide during the day and come out to feed at night just like their larger cousins-bedbugs.

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