How long should I leave my chickens in their coop at night to roost?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MyChickenCookie, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. MyChickenCookie

    MyChickenCookie Just Hatched

    Jun 21, 2016
    I just got four hens and I don't know how long I should keep them cooped up before I let them out in their run in the morning. I need some advice from more experienced chicken keepers on what they do and how long they keep them in.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Do you have a totally enclosed run or are they free to range when you let them out?

    If you do not have a totally enclosed run I’d suggest you keep them locked in the coop for several days, at least four with a week not uncommon. That gives them time to think of the coop as their new home. Otherwise they may go roaming, looking for home, and you may never see them again.

    If you have an enclosed run so they can’t wander, you can let them out at sunrise as far as them roosting. They may or may not go back into the coop to sleep at night, but as long as they are contained you can move them into the coop after dark to let them know where they should be sleeping. I think it is a good idea to leave them locked in the coop for a few days (if it is big enough) so they get in the habit of sleeping in there so you don’t have to move them in after dark, but that’s not totally necessary if you are willing to physically put them in yourself after dark.

    How old are they and are they roosting yet? My brooder raised chicks tend to sleep on the floor until they are around 10 to 12 weeks old. Some start roosting earlier, some later, but 10 to 12 weeks is fairly normal. I find mine tend to sleep on the ground outside the coop even if I leave them locked in the coop for over a week if the coop is elevated. If the coop is on the ground they tend to go in the coop to sleep, even if they are not roosting yet.

    I don’t know if they are roosting yet, if your coop is big enough to leave them locked in there for an extended time, if your coop is elevated, or most importantly if they will be in a run or are free to go roaming. As long as they cannot go roaming you are not likely to have a disaster. You can handle it.
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickenLover200

    ChickenLover200 Overrun With Chickens

    May 10, 2013
    I'll be in the barn!
    For me, it depends on the temps outside and how it will effect coop temperature. Summer I like to let them out early like anytime before 7AM and put them in anytime after 6:30PM
    The winter is different though because they hardly go out in the 1'+ deep snow. I let them out around 8:00AM and put them in around 5:00PM.
  4. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    My routine....

    I come home from work collect eggs, and I feed the girls whole grain ration, mixed ration and I check the waterers.

    After the girls head into the coop I make another check on the flock.

    At 5:00 am I get up make coffee, and go out and let out the girls and check feeders and waterers again.

    Simple routine. Girls out at around 5:00am most days.
  5. MyChickenCookie

    MyChickenCookie Just Hatched

    Jun 21, 2016
  6. pauleberly

    pauleberly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2016
    East TN
    We locked ours up in the coop for 7 days straight. They now return at 9:15 pm every night for bed
  7. I think you actually wanted to know what time to let them out in the morning...Once the sun is up or your awake..Even in the dead of winter I let mine outside into the run.
    1 person likes this.

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