Getting your chickens in at night?

corriemartin

Songster
May 6, 2020
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Lawrence, KS
Hey folks, this is a real question, and I'm kindof embarrassed about it, but how do you get your chickens to go inside at night? My chickens always run over to me whenever I show up, so what I've been doing is going INTO their chicken house, with a cup of scratch, and sit down in the back and most of them come right after me. I have a string attached to the door so I can shut it behind them, because if I don't, they'll go back out when I get up to go out and shut the door. The problem is that two or three or sometimes four of them sometimes take a long time to come in. And some of them will go back out again once they've had their little treat, so I end up opening and shutting the door (via the string) a gazillion times, and sometimes it takes a half an hour for them all to come in (there are 17 of them), and it's all quite ridiculous. I'd like to just have them go in by themselves, and shut the door after them. How can I make that happen????

The few times I haven't gone to put them in until well into dusk, they were all already in, and jostling for prime roosting space, but when they saw me coming, they all ran out again
 
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PioneerChicks

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Sep 4, 2019
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Nothing to be embarrassed about. There is so much to learn about chickens that one person might be very knowledgeable on, say, their body parts but know nothing about their behavior, which is absolutely okay!

I train my chickens to go in at night by locking them in the first few nights full-time. After that I let them out in the morning and they go in by themselves at dusk, at which time I lock them in.

If they keep coming out when they see you, try locking them in a little later. When it's dark chickens can't see well and won't run out to see you. Also, you can try to be really quiet when you go out to the coop in the evening. But honestly, it's pretty cool that they run out to greet you! It means they trust you and look up to you! But I agree, it is a pain sometimes.

If I have to get them in during the day I bribe most of them in with treats and chase the rest around until either I catch them or they go in by themselves.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
 

corriemartin

Songster
May 6, 2020
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Lawrence, KS
How old are these birds and how long have they been living in this coop?
Do they have a run or are they free range?
Is it not quite full dark when you do this?
The chickens are 11 or 12 weeks old, and they've been in this coop since they were 5 1/2 weeks old. They have a good-sized run/yard.

I'd LIKE to put them up before it's full dark, because I hear that twilight is when the predators comes out. The coop is (presumably) predator-proof, but the run is not. The fence keeps the chickens in, so that they don't go out in the pasture where hawks could get them, but it seems like it'd be fairly easy for a raccoon to get in. A coyote might have a bit of a harder time, and probably couldn't manage without alerting the dog. They do go in on their own, but later than I'd like, and, like I said before, if they're in, when I arrive to shut the door, they run out again.....
 

corriemartin

Songster
May 6, 2020
236
274
146
Lawrence, KS
Nothing to be embarrassed about. There is so much to learn about chickens that one person might be very knowledgeable on, say, their body parts but know nothing about their behavior, which is absolutely okay!

I train my chickens to go in at night by locking them in the first few nights full-time. After that I let them out in the morning and they go in by themselves at dusk, at which time I lock them in.

If they keep coming out when they see you, try locking them in a little later. When it's dark chickens can't see well and won't run out to see you. Also, you can try to be really quiet when you go out to the coop in the evening. But honestly, it's pretty cool that they run out to greet you! It means they trust you and look up to you! But I agree, it is a pain sometimes.

If I have to get them in during the day I bribe most of them in with treats and chase the rest around until either I catch them or they go in by themselves.

Hope this helps! Good luck!
Yes, this does help. I think it'd probably work, but the "later" is really late what with the days getting so long....
 

Chicken Heel

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Jun 8, 2019
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Yes, this does help. I think it'd probably work, but the "later" is really late what with the days getting so long....
I am dealing with similar issues with nine 5 week old bantams. I have had to place them in the coop at dark every night for a week and a half but in my experiences this is not that unusual. And this group loves chasing all the nocturnal insects that come out at dusk this time of the year. They'll eventually figure it out.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
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Silly birds! We have two groups of chickens. One group is older, most are a year old but some are older, then there is this year's crop, 16 weeks old. The older ones put themselves to bed at a sensible time, right around dusk. The littles want to stay up late and "party hearty," chasing bugs till almost full dark. We just let them. They go to bed when they're ready and we shut them in. My advice to you is to be sure your run is as predator-proof as possible. Perhaps put up 1/4" hardware cloth from the ground up a couple of feet, that will keep a raccoon from sticking its hands in and grabbing a bird, and will give you peace of mind during that last 20-30 minutes your teenagers are staying up late. Good luck!

Typo, 16 weeks old, not 26. Clumsy fingers!
 

Flockincrazy

Crowing
May 23, 2020
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no question here should ever be embarrassing everyone needs to learn. I have a bell that I ring when it is treat time so all of mine come at once and they make sure everyone comes cause noone gets a treat till everyone is in and i have 23chickens, 8ducks, 6turkeys and 6geese my geese are the bossiest they want there treat so they will hunk and hunk if the others are taking to long
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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The chickens are 11 or 12 weeks old, and they've been in this coop since they were 5 1/2 weeks old. They have a good-sized run/yard.

I'd LIKE to put them up before it's full dark, because I hear that twilight is when the predators comes out. The coop is (presumably) predator-proof, but the run is not. The fence keeps the chickens in, so that they don't go out in the pasture where hawks could get them, but it seems like it'd be fairly easy for a raccoon to get in. A coyote might have a bit of a harder time, and probably couldn't manage without alerting the dog. They do go in on their own, but later than I'd like, and, like I said before, if they're in, when I arrive to shut the door, they run out again.....
That's a tough age, they like to stay out and party.
Might try to put a battery operated puck light in coop and hour before roost time.
The light will lure them in and then you can turn it off after dark when you lock up.
 

PioneerChicks

Naturalist
Sep 4, 2019
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I have also heard that if you use the same stick to chase them into the coop every time, consistently, then they will eventually catch on and go in pretty easy. I have done this with older chicks, but haven't done so yet with adults.

Another thing to note is that in the summer chickens tend to go into the coop before dusk, while in the winter they stay up as long as possible.
 

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