Going from the run to the coop at dusk?? Their job or mine?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by littleandlewis, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. littleandlewis

    littleandlewis Out Of The Brooder

    May 30, 2011
    Our chicks our 6 weeks old today.

    So... our chicks failed their first " we don't need a babysitter Dad, we will go to bed when it gets dark" test.

    Went out yesterday to dinner late afternoon leaving the chicks out romping in their enclosed pen. We had hoped that they would make their way back in to the heated coop at dusk. Got home about 9 PM. They were all huddled , in the dark, in a corner of the run.

    Test failed.

    Dumb chicks? or just need a bit more coaching? I would think instinct would have taken over by now and they would have headed in to their safe roost and heat.
  2. Chaos18

    Chaos18 Minion King Premium Member

    Mar 24, 2015
    Slowly Losing it......
    When it's almost dusk turn a light on inside the coop so that they can see. In there opinion it's a dark scary place the first couple of time.
  3. littleandlewis

    littleandlewis Out Of The Brooder

    May 30, 2011
    Is the red heat lamp considered a light ( which is always on) or are we talking about a regular light bulb?
  4. Chaos18

    Chaos18 Minion King Premium Member

    Mar 24, 2015
    Slowly Losing it......
    Not sure if the red heat lamp would work for the purpose as I never had one in my coop. When my birds were young I went outside with a flashlight and shown it into the back of the coop so that everything was lit up. Did this for 2-3 evenings and everybody learned to go into the coop by themselves. Now the older ones teach the younger ones.
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi, [​IMG]
    I went to Lowe's and got the Portifino solar light for about 19.99. Mounted it to the outside of the coop with the light shining inside. Comes on at dusk and lights the inside of the door. No electric bill.
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You need to teach them to go into the coop. Chicks do not automatically figure that out on their own. It's way too big of a mental leap for a little being with a brain the size of a pea.

    The light is a good start, but you also need to get inside the coop and coax them inside for a couple nights. It's a matter of programming their brains to go from run to pop hole and inside the coop. So lure them in through the pop hole using a treat they can't resist.

    You don't need to leave the light on all night, just long enough to get them settled. And why are you still using a heat lamp? Six-week olds should be plenty feathered out and able to handle most cool temps, yes, even 40 F.

    While you're coaching them, once you get them inside, go ahead and place them on the roosting perch. They have an instinctual attraction to high places, and they should take to it with little trouble. My chicks are usually roosting by six weeks old, as well as going inside on their own. It only requires a couple nights of coaxing them for them to pick it up.
  7. ydkjenn

    ydkjenn Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 27, 2013
    My first batch of chicks, when I moved them to the coop, spent about 5 days in the coop only. Their food and water was in there, their roosts were in there. Just the coop, no run until they considered it "home". Then when they were roosting at night on the roosts, I opened the coop to the run. No problem with them then going back in at dusk as they had already established it as home.
  8. theatrain16

    theatrain16 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2016
    You will probably just need to show them where to sleep for a few nights, then they will start going there themselves.
  9. Lukedawg

    Lukedawg Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    Akron, IN
    All great advice and remember new chicks after you have some established flock members will get it a lot sooner!
    My first flock of chicks were terrible at being chickens also but I hatched a few out and mama hen teaches them what I taught her when she was young !

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