going into the coop at night -Are my chickens complete airheads?

rbancroft

In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
20
0
32
I have four 9 week old Buff Orpingtons. They have been outside in the coop for about 3 weeks now, and I'm wondering if they are ever going to figure out how to go back into the coop at night! For last few nights, when I bring out their treat to entice them back into the coop (they free-range for a few hours each night), two of the chickens will come running, get a taste of the treat, I'll put the treat inside the coop and those two will go inside. Since it is getting dark at that time, both will usually go up to the roost and start getting settled. The other two walk around the coop, looking up at every side of the coop except for where their door is, making noises. Like they hear their sisters in the coop but can't figure out how to get in there with them. So I end up having to chase and catch them at which time they squawk like it's the end of the world. It's really getting frustrating. Any suggestions? I feel like those two are scared of me. Perhaps I should be coaxing them into the coop a little earlier when there is more light in the coop?
 

Kim_NC

Songster
10 Years
Jan 27, 2009
2,044
12
181
Mt Airy, NC
A light inside the coop that comes on a little before dusk would help. When it's 'lighter' inside than out, it encourages them to go inside on their own.
 

chickn

Away for a bit
11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
4,814
8
231
New Hampshire
how long did you keep them locked in it? maybe a few days locked in will remind them where to sleep. mine always just go,. but they are older.
 

farmerjill

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 18, 2009
32
1
21
I agree about the light inside. Perhaps bring a lantern and hang it inside the coop for a bit in the evenings. I really think their eyesight in low light is terrible, and if they wait outside too long, they often can't see to get inside very well....
 

Bwaaak!

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 29, 2009
65
0
29
Woodinville, WA
I have 26 three month old chicks. When I introduced them to their run they caught on fairly quickly that they could go out and romp around.

However, when it came to tucking them in at night my husband and I had to physically *teach* them how to get back inside their house, via the chicken door. We would each pick up a chicken and *trot* him over to the door, *pretend* they were hopping through the door to the inside.

Most caught on in a couple days. The majority caught on in four days. A few really mentally challenged ones caught on by weeks end.

Good luck!
 

dykeswa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 3, 2009
59
0
29
Greenville Texas
The first couple of times we had our BUFFs in the coop we had to set them up on the roosting bars. Wife and I think that you might not have left them in the coop long enough to get them used to it ours were 4 months old before they went to the coop, we also let ours out before 8:00 in the A.M., Hope this helps....
W&D
 

rbancroft

In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
20
0
32
Thanks so much for your suggestions. The coop isn't elevated. When they first moved out to the coop, I kept them there for 2 days and nights. Maybe a little longer will help. Today I bought a small battery-powered light to use inside the coop tonight, so I'll let you know how that goes.
 

2DogsFarm

Songster
10 Years
Apr 10, 2009
1,099
9
171
NW Indiana
Bwaaak! :

However, when it came to tucking them in at night my husband and I had to physically *teach* them how to get back inside their house, via the chicken door. We would each pick up a chicken and *trot* him over to the door, *pretend* they were hopping through the door to the inside.

Most caught on in a couple days. The majority caught on in four days. A few really mentally challenged ones caught on by weeks end.

Good luck!

You just gave me the biggest laugh, picturing you & DH "trotting" your chicks to the coop..."hopping" them in


I have to wonder what was going through their little, fluffy heads...​
 

felidaet

Songster
11 Years
Dec 10, 2008
987
16
141
Vancouver, Wa.
You don't need to leave the light on very long. It only took my 8 - 9 weeks old a few days to learn. I would plug in the light about 30 - 60 minutes before dark. All 18 of them would go into the coop within a few minutes. I would shut the chicken door and wait about 10 minutes. Then I would unplug the extension cord. (I did not go in the coop). They were pretty vocal for an hour or so the first couple of nights but then they got quieter. After about a week I got busy one evening and did not have time to plug in the light. I went into the run at dark expecting to have to chase them all into the coop but I was shocked to find them all in the coop. They were quietly sitting on their roost. I have not used the light since. It has been about two weeks now. I removed the light a few days ago.
 

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