Help! I need to get my older girls to use finished coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Meggies Eggs, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Meggies Eggs

    Meggies Eggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2016
    IL
    Finally, after months of on and off construction, my coops are complete! The coops are located in a horsebarn. Most of my younger hens have been using them throughout this period of time, however some of my older hens and a rooster took to roosting in the rafters. Now that the coops are done i need to get them back in there! I was told by an oldtimer to knock them out of the rafters after they are roosted with tennis balls and force them into the coops at night for a few nights and this should work. Any other suggestions or tips? Please help!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Install a mesh 'ceiling' in coop area, maybe attached to bottom of rafters.
    Need to see pics to advise in more detail.
    Expect some crashes before they realize they can no longer get up there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  3. Meggies Eggs

    Meggies Eggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2016
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    I wish I could, but I can't block the hay loft! Thanks though! It would totally work if it wouldn't block the hay!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m guessing you cannot get to them on the rafters after they are asleep and take them to the coop? They are generally pretty easy to just pick up off the roost after its dark. You certainly don’t need to hurt yourself trying this and in many barns those rafters are pretty inaccessible. This would never work in Dad’s hay barn unless the hay was stacked right up there.

    My suggestion is to food train them. Give them treats a couple of times a day, using the same bucket or container and rattling the food in it. Use a special call, maybe “here chicky chick” when you do this. It will take patience but they should start coming to you when they hear the call or you shake that bucket. Trap them inside the coop and leave their butts locked in there for a few days, at least a week. That may or may not work. Sometimes it breaks them of the habit of sleeping on the rafters and gets them used to sleeping in the coop. Sometimes not.

    Another option is to do all this and lure them into the coop a little before bedtime, then lock them in there overnight. You’ll have to be consistent every night. It might make it easier to trap them if you build a run, temporary or permanent, around the coop. That gives them more room too if you leave them locked in there.

    Good luck. That can be a hard habit to break. The older ones may eventually teach the younger ones to sleep in the rafters too. That’s another reason to break them.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I guess I assumed(yeah, haha) that the coop doesn't have it's own roof/ceiling...and that the barn rafters were accessible from the coop itself.
    More info and/or pics would be great.
    Yep, coop training by confinement sounds to be in order.
    Do you have a run too?
     
  6. Meggies Eggs

    Meggies Eggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2016
    IL
    Thank you Ridgerunner! Ill give that a try, although those old ladies are pretty smart! Art the coops do have a roof, the hayloft I don't have any pics but can get some today! I'm just afraid that if I try the tennis ball thing I will accidentally hurt someone! I'm afraid of heights so no chance of me trying to climb up there...no way!!!
     

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