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Do chickens need to be trained to go into the coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by scoot72, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. scoot72

    scoot72 In the Brooder

    Feb 5, 2013
    I am new to raising chickens. They are 30 days old and still in the brooder. I am building the coops and was planning to put in automatic doors but started wondering if they would get trapped outside if the door closed before they got in. So do they need to be trained to go into the coop or will they just know to go back there when it starts getting dark? I am building 2 coops under the same roof but will be seperated. 1 for my laying hens and 1 for breeders.

  2. wlbaker3

    wlbaker3 In the Brooder

    Dec 7, 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    Generally speaking, they will just know to return to the coop in the evening. I think it helps if you leave them closed up in the coop for the first few days they are in there - just make sure they have plenty of clean food & water. That way they learn where "home" is.
    1 person likes this.
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Crowing

    Apr 8, 2008
    Once they learn where home is, they will return every night. But there is a learning curve, and they have to learn where home is.

    Lock your birds into the coop for at least 3-4 days when you first put them in. Then let them out--they'll probably be a bit nervous about going out, so don't worry if it takes hours or even a day for the first adventurous bird to venture out, especially if they have never been out on grass before.

    The evening when everyone has finally ventured forth, there will be some that go roost in the right place, and some that don't. Be prepared to take a flashlight outside right around dusk to find the birds that just didn't get it. Put them in the coop. I usually put them in the pop door (the door the hens use) so that they don't get confused. Every night, you'll have fewer and fewer to find. After three days to a week, they'll all roost inside and will roost inside for their whole lives, as long as they don't have access to someplace they like better! [​IMG]
  4. cinch920

    cinch920 Chirping

    Mar 4, 2013
    Central Nebraska
    exactly! well said.
  5. I have chickens that are free-range I let them out in the moning then leave the door open all day. I come out around 6:00 and they are all on their perch. So I say give them each a kiss goodnight (Ya I am prob the only 1 who kisses their chickens goodnight) Then close the door an go back to my house!
  6. texas hiker

    texas hiker In the Brooder

    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    When my wife and I moved the chicks to the coop, they were around 3 weeks old. They stayed in the coop for another 2 weeks or so before I let them out.

    They first time they went free range they went back to the coop at night.
  7. pellepeterson

    pellepeterson Chirping

    Mar 3, 2013
    The Woods of Maine
    I was going to ask a similar question, thank you for taking the lead! My flock started out innocently enough, 8 total, 4 black star sex-links and 4 leghorns. We wanted eggs...well I got the bug badly, and yesterday when TSC opened its chicken doors, I went and got 6 more....1 Bantam rooster (lets hope the teenager next in line was good at what she did), and 5 cornish rocks. I was worried about the one week difference, but when I got home it was fine. I put them in the brooder with the layers and there was no fighting and no bickering, they even snuggled up under the lamp together.

    Now I have 14, even if some are only for a short time, and will be building my coop this weekend. I live in Maine, we are still dipping into the 20's some nights. When is it the right time to put them outside? I can see how keeping them inside for a few days will set that place in their minds as "home" and I am not terribly worried about when they are out during the day, the run will be well protected by the 80 pound staffordshire terrier and a rugged fence.

    I was thinking as soon as the layers feather out more, 2 more weeks...the meaties are going to grow quick I know, but what is a good time? Thank you!

  8. Bone143

    Bone143 In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2013
    This only really applies to my meat birds since my layers have a get to know each other period and there are always older birds that lead the younger ones around. But once my meat birds go to their coop they get let out into the pen I keep the heat light on in the coop if it is cold at night. I have also found reversed their feed schedule from daylight hours only to night hours only works, that seems to get them off their butt and foraging in the pen then when I put their food back in the coop they all come flying into the coop. So it gets them use to coming in at night.

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