How do I get the flock to come "IN" at night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Totalcolour, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Totalcolour

    Totalcolour Chillin' With My Peeps


    I have several chickens (13), even more ducks (20) and two geese. We have a very large fenced (with electric wire) yard with a pond. However, we have even more property that would be great for the birds to forage in. This is our second year with birds, and I'm concerned about letting them truly free-range because I have no idea how to get them to come back in at night.

    We feed at night, so do they (to every one else who lets them out) come back in because of the food or would they be so happy to be out they wouldn't want to come back in?

    I know some of them can fly over the fence, because they do it often. I just assumed they didn't go away because the rest of the flock remains inside.

    Maybe if I missed an evening feeding and let them out the next day, then when night comes round they'll be hungry enough for their treats that they'll follow me in - what do you all think? Do they come in at dusk or before that - what time should they be let out in the morning.? So much to learn.

  2. NixNoodleNumbat

    NixNoodleNumbat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2011
    Well, if they're used to living in they're coop(After two weeks, sometimes only three days, but thats not recomended), they will come back in at night, especially if they get food. Its probobly the same for ducks, I only know about chickens.
  3. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    If you had your flock for that long then I wouldn't worry. They should know where to go at night by now, especially if they are being fed in there. [​IMG]
  4. critterranch

    critterranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Red Creek, New York
    as long as they aren't need to you birds. they know where home is where it is home and food. even when i get new birds it only takes a day or too they are smarter than you think.with hold food is an easy way to train them. ists not so much with holding food. its feeding them 2 or 3 times a day at the same time everyday. but just feeding them enough, not letting extra food sit around and get soiled.
    my chickens go to bed at dusk they know when the sun is setting. chickens do not have night vision like people. having a light in the coop helps they just go toward the light. right now they go to bed by 5 because of the shorter day lengeth. as the year goes on in july they stay out til 9:00 pm. they take advantage of every waking minute of daylight. they wont go to bed in summer as long as they can still see outside at night. they are like little kids.
  5. Totalcolour

    Totalcolour Chillin' With My Peeps


    The "yard" they are in is about a third of an acre, the rest of the property is unfenced (about 1 1/2 acres) bordering forest on the west and neighbours on the south and north. We had our first group of geese taken by raccoons and foxes, so I'm concerned about letting these birds into the unfenced area - but it is so lovely and lush, full of tasty weeds and a ton of bugs!

    The yard itself got sparse over the winter, so wanted to let the birds into areas of lush feed. I think the gees could take care of themselves, but I;m not sure about the smaller birds.

    appreciate all comments.
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Chickens are pretty easy if there is a roost in there, once they start using it, they will usually go in before dark. It may require some herding and/or BOSS as a treat but they usually learn fairly fast. Ducks and geese are anther thing since they aren't roosting birds they tend to sleep any place. When I used to raise these I had to confine them in a yard fairly close to the coop and herd them in at night--sometimes they'd go by themselves but, as a rule, it was kind of a life-long job. I lost more ducks to nighttime predators than any birds I've ever owned--mainly to possums and coons but an occasional fox.
  7. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    Lima, Ohio
    Our chickens know where to sleep,however, the ducks need to be rounded up most evenings -- kind of fun to listen to them Uht, uht, uht, uht................................... as they are rounded up.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    If you're really concerned then train them to "come" on command (well, suggestion really). Put some treat like cracked corn or BOSS in a metal can, shake it, then give them the treat saying something like "heeeere chick-chick-chick". It won't take them long to associate the sound & the call to the treat, and they will come running to you whenever they hear it. At my place we like to amuse visitors by doing this when all the birds are out free-ranging, hidden under the hedges & bushes. They seem to materialize like magic from every corner of the yard!

    It's true that most chickens will bring themselves back to their accustomed roosts by nightfall. But sometimes you'll get individuals who insist on picking their own roosts up in trees or on fences, and have to be carried in to the coop EVERY doggone night!

    We used to wait until right before our own human bedtime to herd the ducks & geese into their houses & pens for the night. But last summer we lost a LOT of ducks to a bobcat, they would be taken in the yard sometimes right before night, or in the early hours of the evening. Now we make sure we're home to put them in by sunset.

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