Hens were sleeping in two coops, now they all crowd into just one

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mister Hornbrook, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Mister Hornbrook

    Mister Hornbrook Hatching

    Dec 16, 2018
    Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I'm a live-in caretaker for a guy with an acre of land and 14 chickens. At first he had 8 hens all in one large coop. A while ago (about a year) he got 6 more hens with their own smaller coop. About 2 months ago, they all started sleeping in the smaller coop and there's not really enough room for them all. We tried closing the smaller coop, hoping they would sleep in the larger one, but they just all roosted in the trees that night.

    We're trying to get back to the two-coop sleeping arrangement. They have about 1/4 acre that they share, both coops are accessible to all chickens. Any suggestions?

    Did the two groups just naturally decide to "merge" into a single flock and sleep together? If so, is it better to leave them together? And if so, how could I get them to all use the larger coop?

  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If the entire flock is using one coop on their own volition, they must all find this arrangement comfortable or comforting. To set your mind at ease, quietly observe these chickens as they are roosting and settling in for the night. If the process is accomplished with minimal conflict and fuss, I would leave them be.

    The coop that has been abandoned may have something going on in there that the chickens felt they needed to flee. It would be a good idea to scrub it down and treat it with permethrin or spinosad to rid it of possible blood sucking parasites. Also, rodents may be using the coop and you will want to check that out as well. If you dust the floor with flour or fine sand, you will be able to see rodent foot prints in the morning. Having to share their sleeping quarters with vermin is one of the most common reasons chickens abandon a coop to sleep elsewhere.
    50-45-1 likes this.
  3. Perris

    Perris Crowing

    Jan 28, 2018
    Gower, Wales
    hello @Mister Hornbrook ! welcome to BYC :frow I have two coops too. The flock's sleeping arrangements have changed constantly since I got the second coop, because the second coop was purchased after the arrival of two chicks, which took the flock size over the capacity of the existing coop. Over the summer the chicks have grown into two young cocks, and the flock dynamics have still to settle. They free range dawn till dusk. Some dusks everyone heads for the same coop, and I solve the crowding problem by shutting the pop door after half the flock have entered. There is no infestation in either coop, and rodents can't get in either. Most of the hens just want to roost with the senior rooster, and not with the youngsters. There have been occasional attempts by the youngsters to roost in the trees if a hen is giving them a beating as they try to enter a coop, but I now discourage that, after loses to predators last year, and put them in with the last rays of light. In the morning I first open the coop with the senior rooster in, and the other one straight after, and they all pour out and head for the feeding station together, and get on just as if they all roosted together. It can work - just keep trying! :thumbsup
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Can a picture of the two roosting locations be provided? Also take pictures of both about time it gets dark. It would be nice to see actual roosting locations in the structures.
    aart likes this.
  5. Mister Hornbrook

    Mister Hornbrook Hatching

    Dec 16, 2018
    Thanks for the replies. I'm new to keeping chickens.

    We did have a mouse problem in the abandoned coop a while ago. I trapped most of them and haven't seen any since, so that may be the initial cause.

    And they seem happy enough in the one coop. We added a couple new roosting rails for them today in the coop they're using. I suppose if they're content then I should be too.
    sharkerbaby likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If the coop they chose is of good size with good ventilation for the number of birds you have in your climate, and they are easy to care for there(keepers convenience),
    then, yes, let them be.
    Otherwise there are ways to get them to use the larger coop...lock them in there 24/7 for a week.....then let them out and make the smaller coop inaccessible.

    This^^^ might help.

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