How to convince my Ameracaunas to roost in their flippin' coop @ night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kelly G, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Back in March of this year, I received an order of 15 Ameracaunas. I LOVE them! The problem we're having is really one of our own doing...

    This batch was raised in the coop that they were expected to roost in at night....but we never moved the roosts up higher as the chicks grew bigger (they were at 18" off the ground). As a result, they decided the trees were a great place to roost - and MUCH higher than their current roosts! They were thrilled. I was not.

    Over the last few weeks, a raccoon(s) has discovered them in the trees and have killed several. I cannot keep them safe at night if they are in the trees!

    So, yesterday, my husband and I raised the roosts to 4', caught each of the frickin' chickens, trimmed one wing on each bird, put them in the coop, and locked them in the coop.

    How long do you think I need to leave them in there to break the tree-roosting habit & to condition them to sleep in this coop?

    I appreciate everyone's input!
  2. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    We have had to train birds to go into the coop at night.

    A week of putting them in at night and they usually get it.

    Good luck
  3. echip

    echip Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 7, 2010
    I had a similar problem. Even though my chicks had spent a week in their beautiful new coop, when they finally got out into the wider world of the fenced chicken yard they wanted to stay there. I had to put them into their henhouse at first.

    Then a few of them discovered a nice high fence perch outside their house (but still in the chicken yard). They all liked this very much, but they needed to be safely locked in their beautiful safe little house.

    What I did was every night I would pick them off the high fence-perch and put them in their house, one by one. The closer to dark it was, the easier this was to do. Every evening fewer of them would try to roost on the fence-perch and more of them would be safely inside, happily singing themselves to sleep.

    But there were a few stubborn ones who really seemed to love the fence-perch. So I thought maybe these chicks were just waiting for me to pick them off the fence and put them in their house. Instead I began to pick them off the fence and put them either on the ground or the ramp leading into their house. It was almost dark and I was semi blocking their beloved fence, so they walked in the henhouse. My thinking was if they went into their house for the night by themselves it would make a bigger impression on them. Whatever they were thinking, if anything, it worked.

    For five nights now, every one of them has gone into their home without my help.

    Good luck!
  4. TicTac

    TicTac Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2010
    Kimball, Mn
    Boy I hate Raccoons! [​IMG] I had one reach in thru the wire and try to pull out the hen! She only lost feathers and was scratched up a bit but I was mad. That next night I set up our live trap and caught at least a 20lb coon! Last chicken meal for him. Thing is once they know the chickens are there they will be back. If you haven't gotten a trap yet I would invest in one. Best $30 bucks Ive ever spent. Ive caught Coons, Possom, Skunks, Tom Cats! I bait our live trap with cat food and that catches them. You can get rid of them anyway you want. I suggest a 22. You should try to get that bugger. I agree that a week of training should do. They do like to be up high, I cut off some 1" branches from a dead tree and put them up to roost on. Several at different heights. Its funny to watch them pick where they want to sleep. Maybe that will help give them feel of the trees. I also say "shoo shoo" when I want them to go into roost a little earlier in the evening than they would normally go in. Thats the only time I say it, so they know when I say that its time for bed. Seems to work. Good luck![​IMG]
  5. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 5, 2007
    I usually lock new birds in for about 2 weeks before letting them out to free range.

  6. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Yep. The trick is to always lock them in at night, or if you choose, at day too, for at least a week. That way, they associate the place with their homely sleeping area.
  7. buckaroo's wife

    buckaroo's wife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2009
    North Central Texas
    I have ameraucanas as well, and mine did the same thing. I locked mine up in the coop 24/7 for three days, letting them out to stretch for about 2 hours each day when I got home from work. On the 4th day, I left them in the coop all day but let them put themselves up at dusk and they had the idea. I haven't had anymore issues since! Good luck!
  8. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Hey, guys- THANKS!

    I think I will be leaving them inside there for at least 10 days....and I may do 2 weeks! I think I will also make them a little run inside the big run (it's 50'x50') they will have little choice but to go into the coop to roost.

    TicTac - you're right that little Bas*#n)rd raccoon was back last night!! I had raked the sand so I could verify what I was dealing with....and it's definitely a raccoon - and it is BIG!!! We set a trap last night - but didn't catch anything. By looking @ the tracks, the 'coon was interested - but didn't go in. The trap may be too small; I'll have to wait and see. We set it again tonight. If I catch it, I have a neighbor has Treeing Walker Coonhounds that he'd like to train - they only tree them (they don't chew/kill them)...whatever - so long as the killer raccoon is far away, I don't care!

    All the girls are safely tucked in, again there will be no chicken drama tonight - thank God!

  9. TicTac

    TicTac Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2010
    Kimball, Mn
    Amen to that, those coon hounds will scare the bajesus out of that thing!! Ha Ha To bad you cant put chicken masks on the dogs. [​IMG] Hope you get that thing.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by