When you lock up a new flock in a coop to condition them to come back there to roost, is it okay to let them have access to an attached run too or do they need to be locked inside the coop itself? Thanks in advance.
I let mine go out into the run. You may still have to herd them in to bed for a few days but it's not so large that herding becomes impossible. I employ the patented "chicken finger" which is a 6 ft thin maple branch with a plastic grocery bag tied to the end- it's a gentle persuader for those that are occasionally reluctant to go in. I rarely have to use it unless I want them to go to bed earlier than they have planned.
It should be OK as long as they can't get out and then start roosting in unsafe areas.....You may have to 'assist' them into the coop in the evening if they don't put themselves to bed. That may take a couple of days and then they should figure it out. Mine were pretty young and still had a heatlamp on at night for the first week, kept them in the coop for the first week and then did coop/run. They did fine except they needed a little help to get in and out the first couple of days before they were comfortable using the ladder. After a while I let them roam the backyard and they never had a problem going in at night