First night - won't (or can't) go up to the roost

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CarolJ, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    Tonight is our first night with our chickens - 4-month old pullets. There are seven of them. When it started getting dark, two of them, walked up the ladder from the run to the coop and then blocked the entrance to the coop - the others couldn't get in - although they tried for awhile. We finally opened one of the small side doors in the coop and managed to shoo the two that were blocking the entrance into the coop and onto the roosts. However, the rest of them are still roosting on the ladder. Will they eventually work it out so they all go into the coop and onto the actual roosts? Our coop is built in such a way, we can't reach the ones on the ladder - so we can't move them ourselves. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  2. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Is your coop big enough for them all to stay inside the coop without any drama? If so, I always recommend keeping chicks confined to the coop for at least one week when they are first introduced to it. Moving is very stressful for them and they need to have a chance to acclimate to their new surroundings a little bit at a time. So, after the first week or two, let them out of the coop into the run for a week or two (if you're planning on free-ranging) and then you can let them out of the run after another week or two.

    I have found that this "coop training" method works 100% of the time for me: it familiarizes them with their new home and where they are expected to return at dusk AND it familiarizes them with where the nest boxes are (VERY important for when they're ready to lay, and yours should be soon!). I would even put a golf ball or some fake eggs in the nests given their ages, to suggest to them that that is the right place for breakfast deposits.

    These suggestions should solve tonight's problem and avoid problems in the future (like having to chase them around to get them to go inside the coop. That's no fun!).

    Best wishes and let us know how they do!
  3. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    If you live where it is hot, shutting them in the coop may not be possible, especially if they are crowded. Did the chickens all come from the same source (did they live together before you got them)? If so, it may be a dominance thing with the blocking of the door. Once they get the pecking order, and the roost positions, figured out, it will go more smoothly.

    How much room do they have in the coop? How much roost room? That could be relevant, too.

    Good luck with tyour girls, and welcome to BYC. Be sure to post some pictures when you have time. We all are interested.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    Thanks for the suggestions. When I went out this morning - just barely light enough to see - they were still as they were last night - two in the coop and the others lined up down the ladder. The chickens came from a flock of 100 that were hatched together in February - and lived together since. So they are used to a big coop and big run. My coop and run are small - there is more than enough room for 7 chickens, but it's a lot smaller that what they had before. I'd post a picture but haven't figured out how yet.

    I don't think I could keep them in the coop all day, though. It is big enough for them to roost in at night with nest boxes on the side. However, there's not much other room in it. The biggest area is the run underneath and to the side. I think I will figure out how to get them all in the roost tonight & then cover the ladder doorway until the morning. That way they'll have to work out their roosting pecking order.

    Thanks again for the advice.

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