Going in the coop to roost at night

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by suburbanchick, May 31, 2007.

  1. suburbanchick

    suburbanchick Songster

    Apr 7, 2007
    Raleigh NC
    My chickens will not roost and they are about 3 months old. They actually knock the roost pegs out of the holes they are sticking in in the coop. They love to huddle on the floor if I make them go in the coop. I have put them on the roosts and they just get right back down.

    Also, for at least 6 weeks I've been putting them in their coop each night. After all that time, if I don't go get them and put them inside they will sleep on the deck rail. It's a PAIN to catch them all at night to put them inside. It's something that involves the whole family and lots of running around like we're crazy! I started feeding them around 8PM when it's about time to put them up. For a while, they went straight in when I fed them but now they don't even do that... it's like they're on to me. Last night I waited till they were good and asleep, then I snuck up and grabbed all four of them at once and put them up. It's easy this way, but I don't want to stress them out too much.
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    To get them to go to their coop at night, you will need to lock them up in their coop for two weeks or so until they recognize it as their home. Then, the first day that you let them out, do so very late in the day so that they only have an hour or two outside. If they go back to their coop at dusk then you can start letting them out earlier in the day. If they dont go back, then you didnt have them locked in long enough.
    I usually lock new birds in for at least two weeks.

    As for roosting, during the time they are locked in their coop, go out after dark, and put each one on the roost for several nights in a row and they should get the idea. It needs to be dark when you do this or they will just jump down again.

  3. annp

    annp In the Brooder

    Mar 25, 2007
    I bell trained my chicks---rang a bell every time I gave them a treat---and when I ring the bell in their house now, they come running. Of course, you have to treat them whenever you ring the bell.
  4. kico166

    kico166 In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2007
    Is it possible they are just too young to figure out where home is yet? Trying to recall how big they are at 3 months - is the roost too high for them?

    Mine were at my brother's (my place wasn't ready yet) the first 5 months (April - Sept). I kept them in since it was a new home & pulled clover for them 2-3 times a day last fall.
    Over the winter I kept a slice/slab of very leafy alfalfa in a 'rack' on the wall.

    This spring I got brave and opened the door - it happened to be late afternoon / early evening. They were nervous coming out - kept close to the coop the first few days.
    Being nervous about getting them in, we sort of 'rounded them up' and got them in a couple hours before sunset.

    Last night's experiment was waiting til dusk - they put themselves to bed! I just made sure they had fresh water and some feed inside earlier. (It's been 90ish last couple days).

    ANNP - what do you use as a treat? The bell is a great idea! (They would hear that over the wind!)
  5. rufus

    rufus Crowing

    May 17, 2007
    It is possible that the roosts are not comfortable to the hens. The chickens' feet are designed to grasp onto a roost that is round and about two or two and a half inches thick. Square cut roost are a mistake. Try a wooden dowel such as used to hang clothes in a closet.

  6. kico166

    kico166 In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2007
    Oops! I better modify mine! They are just 2x4's set on edge.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: