How Do Chickens Know Where "Home" Is?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hopeful546, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. hopeful546

    hopeful546 Hatching

    Nov 13, 2007
    I bought 4 white leghorns yesterday and brought them home to our new chicken coop. It was late in the afternoon and they were scared from being moved, etc. I left them in the coop all night with food and water. Since the pen isn't finished, I have no way to confine them except in the coop. How long should I leave them in the coop before I let them out? Will they know to come back at night if their food and water is in there?

    Sande in MO
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Sande, our run wasn't finished either, and we HAD to get our big chicks out of the guest bathroom! So we brought the birds out and shut in their coop for three weeks. They were fine because the coop was bigger than what they were used to.

    Now they always run into the coop whenever dusk falls or anything threatens them.
  3. We left ours in their coop for three days. They go home every night now. If you do not lock them in every night though they will stop going home and roost outside of the coop then you have to re-train them. Good luck with your new chickens!!
  4. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    My experience has been to keep them locked up for a minimum of 2 weeks to train the flock where home. Any less time than that might not work well enough to avoid problems.

  5. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Smart chickens! Took my son until the 6th grade to remember his address, lol!!
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If I have no chickens already homed in on a certain area as home, I do a one week lock in. Else, I just let the youngins follow the olders ones and pick which coop they want. In your case. At least a week would be good if not more.
  7. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    Once thier lockup is done, I would reccomend let them out short time before bedtime, so they have a chance to get out but not stray too far before its time to go back in. Then increase amount of time till you are letting them out in the morning and they are going in on thier own at night.
  8. ali d 1985

    ali d 1985 In the Brooder

    Dec 9, 2013
    Essex, England
    I have a coop with a run connected, i have just put my 6 chickens out in it for the first time today, they just seemed to wander round run looking lost but didnt even attempt to go up ramp to their perches or nesting areas, i had to practically force them through the door to bed. Is this something that will come with time ?
    Im new to this so any advice would be great. Thank you. X
  9. CasadasHens

    CasadasHens In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2013
    Once you have shown them how to get up the ramp a few times, they will find their own way.
    1 person likes this.
  10. ali d 1985

    ali d 1985 In the Brooder

    Dec 9, 2013
    Essex, England
    Are the chickens meant to sleep on their perches or in the nesting area? I put straw in the nest areas so they cud keep warm but they have chose to huddle on perch tray, not even on perches???

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