Help! Pullets won't go up ramp to the coop!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Sep 28, 2010
Hi all,

Our 8 week pullets have been in their combo coop/run for a week now and they are still not using the ramp to go up to the coop at night. My husband has to carry them up from under the coop where they are huddled together every evening. We have tried putting food on the ramp, etc but they don't seem to get it. Any ideas? The ramp is a 45 degree angle or less, and has rungs/ steps every 6 inches. They don't seem to have any problems flying down. The coop door is about 2 feet off the ground.

Last night was dangerous because there were raccoons that came in the yard while my husband was trying to transfer the chickens up. They do stay in the coop after he takes them up, but they sleep in one of the nesting boxes instead of the roosting bar, which is 20" off the coop floor. It's made out of a wooden closet rung.

I thought the chickens would naturally know what to do, but do my chicks have a learning disability?
I found that putting them in does no good. I actually laid down on the ground, picked each one up and patted their little butts all the way up the ramp, starting at the bottom. If they fell off, we started again at the bottom. It didn't take long at all for my Icelandics to get the hang of it. Now the Sussex, and Wellsumers were a whole other story. They took a lot longer and some of the Sussex were sold and shipped to Texas without ever learning!
Good luck, keep working with them and they'll get it, unless they are Sussex, then just plan on going down each night and putting them in!

Sadly, this is a picture of the actual procedure as captured by my granddaughter to whom I am no longer speaking!

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They'll get it. Of course my silkies are never in at night. I always have to collect them and put them in the coop. They don't really like jumping and flying up. They like the ground.

As for the others they had mom to teach them so it didn't take them long. however, when I switched them to the main coop I had to gather chickens up every night. They are now 17-20 weeks and I still have one that can't seem to find here way in. She is kinda stupid though she can jump up but she can go forward. It is funny watching her try to jump up on a small wall she just goes up and down and can't seem to go forward

Anyway I would just pick them up each night and put them in. They'll get it.

Your picture is hilarious! The things we do for our chickens! I've read about putting a light in the coop, but that hasn't seemed to help. I just searched the forum and read about locking the chicks in the coop for several days so that they know it is home. Has this worked for anyone?

I'm learning that chickens aren't always the smartest creatures ( or maybe just some of us newbie owners!)
My silkies WON'T go in the coop without a light on, and it took a few days to get them to go up by themselves. We made a spiral staircase for them so I think it was a bit more of a challenge than a ramp. I put red dots on the steps and that peeked their curiosity. When I tried putting them on the bottom steps it didn't work. But, putting them at the top 2 or 3 steps so they could SEE the door worked really well. Then, each day I would put them a couple steps lower. They had it figured out in less than a week.
We have needed to show them how to use the ramp on a few occasions.

We herded them up the ramp, made them do the walking. About 2 weeks and they had it figured.

The last group of youngsters to go out to the coops were left to figure it out on thier own, it took forever.

Good luck in you chicken training.
Ours learned in just a few days we had to herd them though. Yes you should lock them in the coop for a few days so they know where home is. Also don't let them sleep in the nest boxes that is a bad habit that can be hard to break. You guys should block off the nest boxes so they cannot camp out in them, you still have 8-9 weeks before you need to open them up. I hope this helps you guys good luck!!
P. S Welcome to BYC
We had this issue because we added a perch outside and also once when we had them out in a temporary run and didnt get them in before dark! So silly they are. When we moved the pearch out and they only had one inside they started going in again. They really like to perch at night so they we thrilled to go sit on it once they realized they had to go in to perch. Good luck!
This thread strikes me so funny as some of us can't get our chickens IN the coop and some of us can't get our chickens OUT of the coop. I guess they all figure it out eventually but we really worry until they do!! Love our chickens !!

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