Chickens Won't Sleep in the Coop - They Want To Sleep In The Run!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Oktober, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Oktober

    Oktober Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Hello,

    My wife and I built a new chicken coop (4'x4' Purina Mills design) with a run (12'x4') a few months back. Our 4 hens have been living in the coops happily for a month or two with one exception - three of the chicken will not go up into the coop at night. Instead, these three hens pile up in a ball in the space underneath the coop (which is part of the run) and try to sleep in the open air. This has meant that every night (1-2 hours after dark), I've had to go out into run, pick each bird up, and place them into the coop. Originally I did this to try to train them to understand that they needed to sleep in the coop (which did not work) and now I do it because the night temps are below freezing here in New England.

    Any thoughts on how I might be able to re-train these birds to head into the coop at night?

    Someone had suggested that perhaps the ramp leading up to the coop door was too steep (as I had never seen any of the birds use it .... they just jump/flap down). The one bird that does go up into the coop at night jumps/flaps up to the coop door as well - coincidentally, she is also the only who have started to lay eggs yet too. In order to rectify the ramp issue, I build a new ramp with a much gentler slope (and more "steps" along its length) with the hopes that the birds will use it to get up to the coop. However, it has been a few days now and they are still trying to sleep under the coop!?! The birds all their time in the run during the day, with the exception of one of them going into the coop to lay eggs.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or considerations for how to re-train these hens to sleep in the coop at night? Since they have been doing it for 1-2 months, what can I do to break their old habit and get them to utilize the coop at night?

    Thanks in advance!

    -Okt
     
  2. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2012
    La Fayette, NY
    When I got chickens a friend told me when we finished the coop--enough for them to live there--to keep them inside for a week so they would know where home was. I didn't last a week, but about four days. I think if you did this they would figure out where they could sleep in the coop and then it would be their place.
     
  3. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2012
    Michigan
    Listen to Glasshen. I did this when i first introduced my girls to their house and i never had a problem. I just kept them in their coop for maybe a week and they learned.
     
  4. Oktober

    Oktober Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Since they have been living in the coop for a few months now, should I just put some food and water in the coop and then shutter them all in therefore about a week? Seems easy enough to give it a try.

    -Okt
     
  5. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2012
    Michigan
    Yeah, that's what i would do.
     
  6. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2012
    La Fayette, NY
    Yeah, but give them fresh water and more food every day.
     
  7. Oktober

    Oktober Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Sorry it took me so long to follow up.

    I did as recommended above - I shut the hens in the coops for just over a week (with food and water inside the coop). After their confinement period, all the chickens now head up to the coop when the sunlight starts fading! Problem solved - Thanks!

    Best Regards,

    -Okt
     
  8. revmichael

    revmichael Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 3, 2013
    I have a raised coop,bottom is closed in with hardware cloth hinged doors, makes it easy to clean. The upper part, being here in tampa florida is open with hardware cloth. The girls have been in the upper coop for 2 weeks ,they are 5 weeks old. I opened up the poop door to the lower part late yesterday afternoon, they just looked down like what's this, but they didn't venture down. This morning they all ventured down and went up and down all day. I got home after dark and went to see if they were upstairs. NOPE...they were cuddled at the bottom of the ramp. They don't have the run yet and not free ranged. I tried the flashlight technique with them but ended up having to put a branch into the bottom and raise them up to the top like an elevator, once on top they jumped off and all 4 were comfy and cooing. Any idea why they didn't go up when it got dark?
     
  9. sn0wwhite

    sn0wwhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2013
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    Maybe they just didn't know. I put my chickens at the top to the ramp and then shoo'd them in the door for the first night it two and then they got it from there.
     
  10. pmcatnip

    pmcatnip Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 23, 2012
    What is the flashlight technique?
     

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