Getting chickens to go inside at night?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 24, 2009

Some of my chickens are having trouble going inside at night.
Every year we get several new chicks to add to our chickens. First, we have the chicks in a coop of their own, then, when they are old enough, we move them to the main coop.
This year we got 30 chicks. They are about 4 1/2 months old now and we moved them to the main coop in around late august. Usually they figure out to go into the main coop by now, but these ones haven't: the majoraty of them are still sleeping outside of the coop, making us bring them in every night.
Even worse, a few have figured out how to leave the pen and sleep in the tree outside. We have a lot of wildlife around here and it is not safe. We have been going outside and batting them out of the tree with brooms every night.

How can I get them to go inside at night?

Are the new ones being picked on by the others? That might cause a problem.

Otherwise I don't know - mine have always gone in by themselves, but I've never changed coop or location.
Only one I had that didn't do it for a while was an injured hen who I kept in the house for a month, she kept coming to the back door to be let back in the house!
Try a small light inside the coop. That works well.
If they have found alternative sleeping arrangements you may need to re-educate them on where "home" is by locking them in their coop for a few days.
Good luck.
Thanks everyone!

Wildsky, thanks! They are being picked on a bit by the others, but nothing more than I'd imagine. They have a whole roost of their own, where none of the other ones who might pick on them are.

CMV, we do have a light in the coop, we just put it in the other day, though. I'm afraid locking them in the coop wouldn't work as it is home to about 70 other chickens who can figure out where home is, and it wouldn't be fair to lock them all in for a few days. Thanks!
Whenver mine can't find the coop I put the old red brooder light in it. As it gets dark they are drawn to the only light that they can see.
Are you still having trouble since you added the light??

The only one of mine that always tried to roost in the trees instead of her house I ended up clipping her wing so she couldn't get up there so now she's always in the right place. Maybe clipping the main offenders would help.
I have brooded babies in the house - and I built a brooder box that goes into the coop - the chicks stay locked in the box for a week or so inside the coop. The other chickens can come and go as they please.. after a week or so, I'll let the babies out during the day, and lock them back in the brooder box at night more so the big chickens don't pick on them in the coop overnight and early morning...
So far thats worked well for me, but I have had some being nervous to go back into the coop.. they do go, but are not too excited about it - they hang back and wait till last.
Thanks everyone!

I realized I have a window open beside the coop and the ones outside have been sleeping near the window. If I close the window the coop will be the only source of light. I'll try that tonight. Thanks!

Tala, thanks! Clipping their wings is a great idea. I might try that! Thanks again!

Wildsky, thanks! I think that would work great for younger chicks. Mine are about 4 1/5 months old right now and about full grown. Unfortunatly, I wouldn't have room to build a brooder area big enough for 30 full grown chickens inside my coop. Thanks anyways!
I got mine to associate me shaking a can with a tiny bit of cracked corn in it. I shake the can and watch them run to wherever I need them to go!

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