Coop - Going in at night

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Carebear5, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Carebear5

    Carebear5 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've seen this posted before but I need help with this area since the other post answers don't apply.

    My girls will not go in their coop at night. The coop is attached to a chicken yard (about 8X10), which is coop on one side, chicken wire on 3 sides, and a pitched covered roof. When sunset hits, they will all run to the fenced chicken yard (from free ranging) attached to the coop and just huddle against the coop, providing a shield on one side and overhead.

    I have a good size coop (8X10, larger barn) with 6 nesting boxes and only 8 chickens. (This size should hold quite a few birds, so I know "too small of a coop" is not a reason.

    The coop is well ventilated (window on one side, vent slat on the other) and doesn't really get too hot or too cold.

    We are in middle Washington, which means very hot days and cool nights with a breeze. I would think they would prefer to be inside when it gets down to the 60s.

    They will go in if I throw a treat in, but if I stop that, they won't go in. I don't want to do this every night.

    They love the coop during the day, laying inside it, eating in there, roosting, drinking. There are no mites/pests.

    I finally just let them just hang out outside, but I'm worried about predators. (I close the door to the yard and the coop/yard is inside a large fenced backyard, so not really a big threat of predators. (If I go out in dark, I can move sleeping chickens into the coop. They don't exactly wake up either when I move them.) I'm also worried that when winter comes with snow, they still won't go inside the coop without prodding.

    So ---

    (A) Any ideas?

    (B) Any problems with just letting them hang out outside if it's relatively safe from predators? (LOL - My dog is out there and loves "her chickens" so I'm guessing if a predator came, she'd chase it off.)

    (C) Any guess on if they will naturally move in when the weather gets cooler?

    (D) Do you think they just think the chicken yard is a protected coop since it is covered?

    I'm really wanting to put in an automatic door opener/closer so that they can go in/out of the coop/closed chicken yard if we want to go away for the weekend. I just don't want them stuck outside if it rains hard. (If it does rain, they will stay out in the yard huddled because the yard is covered.)


    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    (A) Any ideas?

    Chickens are creatures of habit and hate change. You have to break them of the habit.

    1. Lock them in the coop for a few days until they learn it is home. Do not let them out into the run at all. After about a week, they should accept this as home and go in on their own.

    2. Lure them in shortly before dark and lock them in there. They will eventually get the idea.

    3. After dark, move them into the coop every night and set them on the roosts. Eventually they will get the idea and go in on their own.

    (B) Any problems with just letting them hang out outside if it's relatively safe from predators? (LOL - My dog is out there and loves "her chickens" so I'm guessing if a predator came, she'd chase it off.)

    They will be much safer locked inside a coop than in a run at night when predators are most active.

    (C) Any guess on if they will naturally move in when the weather gets cooler?

    My guess is that they will not move in on thier own.

    (D) Do you think they just think the chicken yard is a protected coop since it is covered?

    It is almost impossible to make a run as safe as a coop unless it is a very small run.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  3. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Gainesville, Fl.
    Agree with Ridgerunner. Make them go in...keep them inside for a few days if necessary. Some of ours won't go in the coop on their own, even at dusk, unless we throw in scratch. Then they run in as fast as they can.
     

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