Chicks staying in run at night

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by frolfer, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. frolfer

    frolfer New Egg

    Aug 1, 2011
    New chicken owner here. My parents have had chickens for awhile, so I have some experience with them, but am no expert. My wife and I recently got two chicks which are now about two months old. I built a chicken tractor for them, an A-frame design with the roosting area at the top and a run underneath (will post pictures eventually). The problem is that the chicks huddle into the corner of the run at night rather than going up to the roosting area. I have had to physically move them to the top every night, which I then secure by pulling up the ramp. Is it normal for chicks to not go to higher ground at night? My parents chickens have never done this, so I am rather confused and annoyed. Do they want a raccoon to reach in and grab their head?!

    Any input is appreciated
  2. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    Keep manually putting them in the run for now, until they do it themselves. Perhaps the rungs on the ramp are spaced too far apart and they cannot climb it? For eight week old chicks, I would suggest spacing the rungs2-3 inches apart. Also, it should not be too steep. Best!
    and [​IMG]
  3. Mikee1948

    Mikee1948 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    Mine did that for three nights until they figured out the ramp can accomodate two-way traffic. Now they head in on their own, around dark. I keep some food and water in the coop for them, as well as a small light.
  4. kfisher123

    kfisher123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2011
    Verona Wisconsin
    I'm dealing with the EXACT thing! My chicks are 6 weeks old and for the last 4 nights I've had to go in and put them in the roosting area. The first night was TERRIBLE they "cried" and we let them back out. Once it was darker I put them in again and they settled down. I've been reading a lot on BYC and everyone says it just takes time. If they had their mommy she would lead them into the roosting area but since ours don't we have to do it for them. That's probably why you don't remember your parents having this problem, they probably always had a mommy to lead the way. I'm going to keep doing it until they catch on....hopefully not as long as my daughters took to sleep through the night!! Good luck to us both!!
  5. frolfer

    frolfer New Egg

    Aug 1, 2011
    I guess it's good to hear I'm not the only one with this problem [​IMG]

    They do go up and down the ramp during the day, as I keep the food and water up top. But for whatever reason they prefer sleeping in the run on the grass. Last night when I went to move them I saw a cat near the cage, and the chicks still didn't go to safety upstairs. Hopefully they'll figure it out soon.
  6. turrbrahma

    turrbrahma Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 4, 2011
    Mine have always done the same thing. Its definetely not safe for them to stay out! I lock them up once the sun goes down and after a few days they learn to go in by themselves! Good Luck!
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    That is a pretty common problem. It's not that chicks are not somewhat intelligent, they just don't use their bird brains the same way we use ours. Until they start to roost, their instincts tell them to huddle low on the ground out of sight. And they are creatures of habit. Once they get in the habit of something, they pretty well stick with it.

    Some of my brooder raised chicks start roosting aabout age 5 weeks, but most take much longer. Don't be surprised if yours take another couple of months to get to that roosting at night stage. Broodies, on the other hand, teach them to roost fairly young, anywhere from two to four weeks with mine.

    You have a few options. If you are comfortable leaving them locked in the coop section of the tractor (and I probably would not be) you can leave them locked in there for about a week, until they get in the habit of putting themselves to bed in the coop portion of your tractor. You can try luring them into that section about an hour before their regular bedtime, again to get them in the habit of putting themselves to sleep where you want them to. Or you can keep moving them evey night. They will eventually get the message, but I can't tell you if that is just a few nights away or a month or more.

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