Chickens won't use hen house or boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Savannah Chicks, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Savannah Chicks

    Savannah Chicks New Egg

    Sep 24, 2015
    Our little ladies are 5 months old and we got our first egg today-yippee! However, they refuse to go in the hen house. They laid the egg on the ground of the run. I've seen them wander up the ramp, but they sleep in the run on the roosts, even in the rain. They don't go into the house for protection. It's well vented, has some light from the vents, but not too much. The floor is vinyl for cleaning purposes and the boxes are lined with hay. Is this typical? Do I need to try and change this behavior?

  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    You have to 'train' them to see the coop as home. There are a few ways to do this. Shut them in the coop for a couple days. Or you can bribe them in with some scratch grain and shut them in each night. Or you can just wait till it's a bit dark out, and pick them up off their roosts in the run and put them in the coop each night.
    But you first need to make sure your coop is big enough, and your roost bars are wide enough for them to be comfortable to use.
    The average medium sized chicken, like Leghorns, need about 4 sq ft of coop space per bird. Larger, dual-purpose breeds need at least 5 sq ft in the coop per bird. You need at least 1 foot of roost space per bird, more is better for spreading out on hot nights. Roosts need to be at least 3 to 4 inches wide. Their feet can't grip like other birds' feet for perching.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by