How to get chickens to roost in house and not in run?

Fishychick

Chirping
May 8, 2018
71
65
89
Maryland, USA
I've recently made some flock changes. I have two houses and two runs. I moved three cockerels to the smaller house and run. They are not happy but it's better than being dead I told them. They have roosts in the run and in the house. The highest in the run is about 6 feet while, in the house, they go up to 7 feet. There are lower roosts to jump up to the higher ones. The house is smaller than the house they were in. The big house is 36 ft2 (the other 7 chickens are in there) while the one they have now is only 27 ft2. I had three windows and two doors added as well as waterproofing/roofing. I think they are scared to go in there since it's a small area. We haven't had measurable rain in two months, and it's been hot almost every day so they're been fine to sleep outside in the run but I'm worried once rain and cold do return that they are not going to be smart enough to go in the house. How can I get them to like it in there? I've recently started putting food and water in there (I couldn't earlier while the handyman was still working on it but he's done), and they will run in there fast for that but won't stay. If I were a chicken, I would be scared to sleep outside and watch the foxes walk past just a few feet away! The houses and runs are all predator-proof but, when in the house, the predators and chickens at least can't see each other. In addition to that, one of my ding-a-ling hens is sleeping outside in the other run tonight, all alone, way up high on a roost. I don't know if it's because she's nuts or the other chickens booted her out. She's a naked neck and also molting so almost entirely naked. It's hot and dry tonight but, if it were cold and/or rainy, she could die. 23 years ago, I had a wild turkey hen who was molting and stood out in the 34 degree rain and froze to death when she could have easily walked in to the very same house that the chickens are using today.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,178
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SW Michigan
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Please post pics of coop, inside and out.
Roost may be too high for that small a coop.

You mean every night pick up three large uncooperative roosters and gently set them on the roosts in the house while they flog me? Sounds easy!
Do it well after dark, wearing a dim headlight, hold bird firmly with both hands around it body holding wings down until feet are on roost then slowly let go while pointing headlight up so they can't see where to walk.
 

Kayla's Lunch

Songster
Jun 9, 2018
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Maryland
I don't think you have to put them on the roosts. They know to roost, it's just a matter of where. I had a 4 chickens that liked to sleep in the rafters of my covered predator proof run. Last winter was their first winter. When it got too cold, I made them go into the coop and closed the pop door. They roosted inside then. When it got warm again and I kept the pop door open, only 1 went back to roosting in the run. But she trained the 3 new pullets to do it. I'll have to see what they do once it starts to get cold.
 

Fishychick

Chirping
May 8, 2018
71
65
89
Maryland, USA
I've moved many a hen by throwing a towel over her when on roost. That's the only way I can change their dresses (saddles) or examine them. Doing that to a much larger rooster above my head though sounds a bit daunting. They are big boys! One has started to peck me so he will bite but the other two are still scared of me. I would just chase them in to the house before roost time except, by the time it's cold, I will be getting home from work after sunset. Yes, the roosts are high in the small coop but there is a lower roost, maybe three feet up. Idiot handyman was supposed to make the three roosts at three different heights alternating sides so they could jump from one to another but made two of them the same height, about 6.5 feet up. I can't put in another one because he put the window where it was supposed to be. I'm going to try to add a corner roost (making a triangle) to act as the go between roost.
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
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Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
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you could remove the roosts from the run for a while giving them only the coop roosts as a roosting option.
also i would recommend trimming those spurs off those roosters if you are going to keep them and have to go in there area from time to time. do it after dark. every time i have to trim my roosters spurs it tends to reinforce his respect for me. he does not attack me ever.
your chickens will seek shelter before death. they know the roosts are there. they are just boycotting the changes you have made and need more time to accept there fate.
 

Fishychick

Chirping
May 8, 2018
71
65
89
Maryland, USA
Re spur cutting. I tried it years ago with another rooster whose spurs got long and then would break off, causing him to bleed. I was never able to find a tool strong enough with my weak hands to actually cut through the spurs. Do they sell spur cutters? If I can find one, then I need them to sit still while on roost. I have 1 rooster and 4 cockerels. The cockerels barely have nubs for spurs while the rooster who is now 1.5 years old finally has some (but not really worth cutting). My oldest rooster lived to be 10, and his spurs were probably 3 inches long with a curl in them.
 

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