Hens won't roost at night

The_Henway

Chirping
11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
12
4
77
NH
We have hens that are just about to start laying but they refuse to go in the coop to roost. They've got no issue going in to eat and drink but at night they bunch up in a corner of the run. We've already lost three to predators. I got an older hen from some friends in hopes that she would teach them, introduced her at night but the next day the others just pecked and attacked her. It's been three days and they won't let her out into the run. Any advice is appreciated
 

The_Henway

Chirping
11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
12
4
77
NH
i have not seen any signs of pests. What should i be looking for when it comes to mites though?
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
11,776
21,766
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
This is 2 different issues:

1) Why they're not roosting - The coop could be too dark, too small, too stuffy, too hot, or pests like mites are an issue. Photos would help.

2) Integration - Adding just one new bird can be very difficult. I know some folks advise just tossing the bird in at night, but IMO that's hit or miss, and yours is a miss.

To safely integrate a bird(s) you should ideally add more than one at once, and have them separated from the existing flock for a week or more so all the birds can see each other but not touch. Once they're a little more comfortable with seeing each other, you can try letting them mingle, with ample space and some clutter and extra feeders, and some supervision.

I have to assume you didn't bother with doing a medical quarantine?

How big is your set up, both coop and run? Do you have room to be integrating a new bird or were you maxxed out already?
 

The_Henway

Chirping
11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
12
4
77
NH
Thank you for your response. It's a larger coop that will comfortably house 18 hens and we currently have 12. This is the first bunch that won't go in at night. It's not pests or mites. I'm going to get them in with treats for a few nights and see if they can figure it out. Also they're fine with the new hen in the coop, just not in the run.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,741
15,825
777
Southeast Louisiana
Have these ever gone into the coop to sleep? Is sleeping outside new behavior or have they always slept out there? I often have to teach mine to sleep inside by locking them in the coop after dark until they get the message to sleep inside. I wait until it is dark and they are easy to catch, then toss them in onto the coop floor and lock the door

It sounds like you have had chickens previously that did sleep in the coop. If that is the case it eliminates some possible reasons they don't want to go inside at night. There may be some clues in your history that could help.

How big, in feet, is that coop that will comfortably house 18? Several times people have said things like that and it turns out that space is the problem.

If you can, a photo inside and out can sometimes help a lot. You never know what someone might see as a possible problem or what possible causes a photo can eliminate. As Rosemary said there are a lot of potential problems. The more we can eliminate the better we can guess as to what might be happening.
 

B40chick

Songster
May 23, 2020
169
549
103
Southwest Georgia, USA
Do you have a door you can close? If not, fix one. My new pullets didn't want to sleep in the coop at first. They looked longingly at the tractor where they first stayed. I picked them up and put them in the coop when there was still enough light to see in there. My husband helped me keep them in until I got all of them in there, then I closed the door. They fussed a bit, but got quiet. They went in at dusk on their own the next night and I didn't have to shut the door. They at first just huddled together on some straw. But before too long they were perching on the poles.
 

The_Henway

Chirping
11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
12
4
77
NH
Have these ever gone into the coop to sleep? Is sleeping outside new behavior or have they always slept out there? I often have to teach mine to sleep inside by locking them in the coop after dark until they get the message to sleep inside. I wait until it is dark and they are easy to catch, then toss them in onto the coop floor and lock the door

It sounds like you have had chickens previously that did sleep in the coop. If that is the case it eliminates some possible reasons they don't want to go inside at night. There may be some clues in your history that could help.

How big, in feet, is that coop that will comfortably house 18? Several times people have said things like that and it turns out that space is the problem.

If you can, a photo inside and out can sometimes help a lot. You never know what someone might see as a possible problem or what possible causes a photo can eliminate. As Rosemary said there are a lot of potential problems. The more we can eliminate the better we can guess as to what might be happening.
it's 64 square feet, well ventilated.
 

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