Chickens won't go into coop at night


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 27, 2011
I have 6 chickens that free range during the day and always put themselves to be at night. Their coop is in a shed and the entrance, until recently has been a regular door that I open in the morning and close at night. My husband has recently made an automatic door that opens in the morning and then closes 30 minutes after sunset, by which time they are usually all well and truly in the coop. Since he installed the door two days ago (and the door is more chicken sized, about 2 feet wide and 3 feet high), they won't go inside at night! They just sit up on the fence, so the door then locks and they are stuck outside. I have had to physically put them inside and they DO NOT like being handled. The flap and squawk and I don't want to stress them out, but I also don't want them to get eaten.

Do I need to retrain them by not letting them out for a couple days? They are about 5 months old. I just can't think why they now won't go in the smaller door and there is no point having an automatic door if they don't use it!!


10 Years
Jan 5, 2010
Campbellsville KY
Try leaving a flashlight on inside the coop for they can see in the coop when it starts to get dark. They may not be use to it being darker inside because of the smaller opening if that makes any sense.


9 Years
Sep 27, 2010
they don't really like change, they are afraid pf it maybe...I also suggest a light, they will get it soon enough...maybe throw some scratch or a treat on the floor and call them in?


8 Years
Jun 5, 2011
Defo a light. It worked for mine. I bought one of thise stick on LED ones. They went in the first time I used it!


11 Years
Jan 28, 2009
Cecil Co. MD - 5Yrs. Chickens 4Yrs. Ducks
ohhh the fun of retraining. Been there do that!
yes, a light might help. also try coaxing them in thru the new door with treats before they start to roost? OR , I have 9 chickens that I pick up every nite and put to bed. Luckily, its not too much work. But hopefully will change. I like to pick them up off their roosting spot by just sliding my hand BEHIND their legs and under their feet. Slow and easy...I carry them that way, like a parakeet perched in your hand. they are very good about it. Once we make the move to the big coop, I might do like you suggested and lock them up for a couple days.


8 Years
Jun 18, 2011
I also vote for the light! I suggest a solar garden light just outside the doorway, that way it only stays on for a few hours and you won't have to go turn it on or off.

Sometimes I think young chooks are like teenagers, they're having too much fun to notice the time..... Then it's too dark for them to know where they are!

maybe feed them treats just in/out of the auto door, keep them around the auto door so they actually realise its there. They might just be seeing that the big door is closed and think oh we can't get in! Without looking for another entrance.


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 27, 2011
Thanks for all the replies. I tried the light tonight and it did not work. They were all roosting on the fence again and I had to carry them in by hand. Perhaps tomorrow I will try and guide them in myself. It may be that they don't really see the door. Sometimes I am really reminded that they are called "birdbrains"!! Seems like some people on this site have really smart chickens but mine seem to be on the dim side.

Thanks again, I appreciate all the help and suggestions!!

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