How do we get them to come inside the coop at night? Very new to this

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by farmerjan, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. farmerjan

    farmerjan New Egg

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    Jul 12, 2010
    hello everyone,

    We have a small farm in Petrborough, NH. So far, two goats, two dogs, two cats, and, as of last Sat, nine 23 week old New Hampshire Reds. Each one has already laid one egg!! I think our Agway coop may be too small - 3x4 for nine chickens, so we may give 3 away to friends as a wedding present (they already have a bunch). We have figured out how much to feed them, and are using a Purina vegetarian feed, along with scratch and oyster shell. For the nine, we are putting out three cups a day into a rectangular, two-sided feeder. They seem to be getting enough to eat, and all is well, except for the chicken chase we must do each night. They are inside a 1.5 acre paddock, with a 5 ft. wire mesh fence inside the horse fencing. Their yard is within the paddock, and consists of about 75 feet of cattle fencing, to keep the goats out of their food, with chicken wire on the inside to keep the chickens from getting into the main paddock, where the dogs run with the goats. They have plenty of shade, plenty of water, plenty to do to keep busy, but when it comes to putting them inside the coop at night, we are having a heck of a time. We've tried rattling the feeder before placing it inside the coop, we've tried making a trail of scratch going up the ramp into the coop. No one goes in voluntarily - we have to catch each one and put them in there. Of course this has only been for two nights. Any ideas?? Do we hold back on food after the AM feeding? I had been putting a second cup out midday....

    Our small farm is surrounded by 800 acres of woods. Even with four fences between a coyote and the chickens, I do not feel I can leave them out at night. Would they be more likely to go in just before dark?? We have been trying to get everyone into the barn or coop by around 7pm......

    Any ideas are welcome, and I apologize if there are already hundreds of answers to this question that I just haven't found in browsing around this website!!
     
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

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    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    First of all, chickens should have food available 24/7. You shouldn't have to figure out how much they need b/c their feeder should always be full.

    On to the coop...you need to lock them in the coop (without access to the yard) for about 5 days or a week. With the size of your coop they will be really cramped, but it will teach them that the coop is home and they will then go in to put themselves to bed at dark.
     
  3. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    Ditto on the other post! Sometimes and this can be several weeks you will have to go out each night and carry each one in. Sometimes they just don't get it and after a week ore two of doing this they will start to do it on there own.
    I thought mine would never catch on but they will.
     
  4. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2010
    Thailand
    Agreed - five days in the coop will make them remember that is home, they should go in on their own about 1 hour to thirty minutes before sundown after that.

    Where are they laying their eggs? Out in the yard or are they going into the coop ?

    Do you leave your dogs out at night? If so then you're probably safe to leave the chickens out too (probably).
     
  5. chase

    chase Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 15, 2009
    hi,
    all my chickens have had to be put in the coop the first couple of nights, after that they started doing it themselves, after the sun starts to set but before its completely dark.
     
  6. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    You already mentioned you know your coop is too small. At 4sqft per bird in the coop, your coop is only equipped to hold 3 hens, so I don't know if locking your hens for an extended period of time in there is a good idea just now, you may get a lot of pecking from the agitation over being so incredibly cramped.
     
  7. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Our birds roam all day, Let out at dawn they return about sunset mill about outside the coop and go in when they're ready. The coop is 120 square feet for 33 birds. Eight feet taperd to six feet. on the roosting side. We to tried to put them in on our time and that lasted a bout 3 nights. They have food water and security so I guess they know where to go. It does sound like your coop is a little small. We are even a little cramped 33 birds at 120 sq ft. But we have a couple who would like 5 so it is going to be roomier. .........................I Told my wife they would go in on their own. 1 for me!! [​IMG] We also moved them from brooder to coop at 6wks, they are now 15wks.
     
  8. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    hi frammer jan,
    quote I think our Agway coop may be too small - 3x4 for nine chickens, that means your have 12 sq ft for that size coop

    yes that size coop you should only have total of 3 hens . 4sq ft per bird in a coop and in the run 10 ft

    i have total of ten chicken and i just putting them into their coop at night,
    the first night we chase around the pen[10x20ft] catch them when we put them in and them to go inside and it is night time we start at 30 minutes before dark. and have to lift them up on the roost

    the second night put one hour before dark i started to call them inside the coop there was 4 inside already one by one they start to come in except for my aust we have to pick them up and throw them inside we left one hen out while while lift the rest to the roost. and she finally came in

    the third night i have to call them in and lift them up

    the fourth night they were all ready in the coop coming to me waiting to be lift up.

    the fifth night [last night] five of them was already sitting on the roost, have to call the 5 in and have to lift three up i was all done by 1 1/2 hour before dark.
    i hope this will be habit for them.

    btw in the coop they have layers pellet all the time. i only throw out scatch in the run and kitchen food in there rain gutter outside for them
     
  9. chickenteen

    chickenteen Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 26, 2009
    richlands N.C.
    This is what i do when i get new brids. I lock them up for a week so they know where the food and water is, then i let them in a horse corlae i think it is spelled the big circle thing hores run in. Then after a month they are free 2 wonder they all ways put themselves up. Try throwing cracked corn down in a trail from where they are to the coop a few times also.
     
  10. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    I have never heard of locking chickens up in the coop for several days to teach them? Personally, my chickens would go crazy if I locked them up for even a day and I have a large coop. Mine just naturally wander into the coop at dusk. The new ones that I put out there need about a day or two of actually picking them up and putting them in the coop, but then they get it. Mostly they just follow the older, seasoned girls inside. Is there anyway you can keep them confined in a small temporary run area around the coop for a day or two? That should be sufficient enough to teach them they need to go in at night.

    I agree with the food: they need it 24/7. Just keep the feeders full and they will eat what they need. Good luck!
     

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