Chickens won't go into henhouse at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Giant$23, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Giant$23

    Giant$23 New Egg

    Dec 14, 2011
    Hi. I just moved my 3 month old chickens to their coop/henhouse. The coop has a roof, and during the day the chicks seem very happy outside in their covered coop. However, they will not go into the henhouse at the end of the day. Since I moved them out of their brooder 3 days ago, I go out each evening to check on them and there they stand at the "human" coop door. I tried seeing if they would go into the henhouse via their "hen" sized door, no luck. Tonight I left open the big henhouse door to see if they would go up the ramp or fly in, but no luck again. So I have had to pick them up and put them into the henhouse each night. I live in California, so weather is not too bad, but it is cold enough that I worry about leaving them outside of the henhouse at night. Questions:
    1. Is there a way to train/lure them into the henhouse at night? I have tried putting their favorite lettuce in the henhouse, but they don't seem to understand or be able to see that it is there.
    2. Should I just let them stay outside at night, even if temp dip into the low 30's?
    3. Correct me if I am wrong -- they don't need food or water in their henhouse do they, as long as they are only in their at night? Our food and water is in the covered coop which they can't access if they are locked into the henhouse.

    Thanks so much for your help -- this is my first try at raising chickens, and I can use any help you can offer!

  2. Newwell

    Newwell Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Oregon.
    I am rather new to chickens, but had the same issue with my chickens. I put them in the coop at 5 weeks (got tired of them in the house brooder).

    My plan of attack was:
    1. I put them in "lock down" IN the coop for the first 3 days. That way they got used to being in there & knowing it was their "home". It may seem harsh, but my chickens are safe & happy & love their coop.

    2. After the initial lock down, I only fed them in the coop. Special treats were only in the coop along with their feed. Water was available in the coop & also the run.

    3. I didn't know that chickens can't see well in the dark, but experienced BYCer's said they could see in the dark about as well as a human. So I bought a cheapie battery powered closet push light & hung that up in the coop. I'd turn it on about 1/2 hour before dusk set in & left it on for about an hour after dark.

    4. After about a week of coop & run only, I'd let them out to free range about 2 hours before dusk. (Got them good & tired.) A couple times I'd have to pick some of them up & put them back in the run, but they'd go into the coop & settle in. After about 1 1/2 weeks the chick babies were going in every night by themselves. I'd do a head check & they'd be settling in. They got in the habit of going in before dusk, so I didn't need the light anymore.

    My chickens are now over 3 months old now. They free range almost all day if we are home & every evening I watch them parade up the ramp & put themselves to bed. Head check, run locked, pop door locked. Night night to my chickens.

    Hope that helps. It worked for me. [​IMG]
  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Give them a nightlight. the subtle light will coax them in. It makes the coup a less scary place to be than outside when night falls. I use those solar sidwalk lights. I just take off the stake that you put it into the ground with and then put the remaining disk (small solar panel and light) in the window. I have two of these and they are on their third year of use.
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    Newwell is right. Put them in the coop - and keep them there for at least 3 days - although I'd do it for a week. It won't hurt them, and it makes the coop become home to them. Once you do that, open the chicken door each morning to allow them into the run. This has worked for me twice now. The only reason the chickens aren't going into the coop on their own each evening is that they don't consider it home yet.
  5. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hi Marna!

    This is common with little chicks. Normally, mama hen would call to them and they'd go into the coop with her. Each night, I would find my babies in the run, all cowering together and sort of peeping in distress......I pick them up and put them inside and shut the door. In the morning, I open the door to let them out, but I let them come outside on their own.

    I usually have to do this for about a week, and then one night, you'll be surprised when you go outside, and they all went in on their own! TA-DA! They will figure it out, but you do have to go out each night until they do, and put them inside.

    As far as the food goes, I keep my food inside the coop, and my water outside. The reason I do this, is because, even though my run has a roof, the rain can still blow in, and chickens do spill food on the ground. If it gets damp, then it STINKS! [​IMG] So for me, it's better to keep the food indoors.

  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Newwell is right on. Exactly what works. It even worked in Georgia.[​IMG]
  7. gmayberry

    gmayberry Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2011
    Put a small light, maybe 15 watts in the coop.
    You don't have to leave it on all night, just till they are in.
    Five to seven days of this will be plenty.
    Worked for me; Took two days.
    Good Luck

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