Getting chickens to go into the coop at night.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dmbnj, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens are 13 weeks old now and they have been in their run/coop since they were 8 weeks old. Almost every night without fail all or some of them are huddled by the door to the run instead of inside the coop. I have an automatic door that closes at 8:30. I've gone out just before the door closes and carry them to the pop door. Last night I decided to wait until the door was closed to see if they would have gone in on their own. Nope, still huddled in the dark by the run door. I've tried to lure them in with scratch or treats but they all just sit there in a pile.
    Any advice?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    I'm going to guess that they are staying out because of the heat. Chickens are much more sensitive to heat than cold. This time of year, they won't want to be any warmer than they have to be. You may need to change a wall of the coop to hardware cloth so that there is breeze in there. Just a guess, since you didn't say much about your coop.
     
  3. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coop is insulated with windows and an exhaust fan. It's cooler inside the coop than it is outside (I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer). We had a cold front last week where it was about 60 deg, and they still were outside.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Then I wonder if there is something in the coop that is bothering them. How well ventilated is the coop? Do you have a fairly large opening at the high point of the coop, so that ammonia will go out (and humidity, in the winter) and fresh air go in? Could there be some mites/lice hiding in the cracks that come out at night and get on them? (Check the underside of the roosts.) Or perhaps mice are getting in there; they can actually bite their feet. Usually mine go in around sunset so that they are settled on the roost at dark. Maybe you could try having the door close later? Is it possible something like a weasel or skunk can get in there?

    Did they sleep in the coop at first and then start sleeping outside? Maybe they never learned to go in. Maybe you will just have to make them go in for a few nights before they get the idea.

    Those are the only guesses that come to mind offhand.
     
  5. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope, they've never gone in consistently. No lice, mites, etc. Larger predators have no access, and any windows, vents, openings are covered in hardware cloth. The soffits are open and covered with hardware cloth. There are four windows and one barn exhaust fan. No hint of ammonia when I walk in. The coop is generally 5 deg cooler than the outside air and it's located in a shady part of the yard. The floor is solid 3/4" plywood and hardware cloth around the perimeter of the floor joists. It's pretty secure.

    They just never learned how to go in which is why I'm asking how to train them to go in at night.
     
  6. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And for no reason that I can figure out, they put themselves to bed tonight.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. bigmrg74

    bigmrg74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they don't do this on a regular basis, then just toss a handful of mealworms into the coop at their bed time.
     
  9. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did they get the introductory lock-in when first introduced to the coop?
     
  10. dmbnj

    dmbnj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, two weeks without leaving the coop after they left the brooder. I can't lure them in, they just huddle in a pile and don't move once the sandman hits.
     

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