How to make chickens roost in coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by erinlee, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. erinlee

    erinlee In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2010
    Baldwin MI
    Hello all-

    A little background info; got my first chicks in June, they moved into their coop somewhere around end of July/August. They had been faithful to retiring to their coop each night as the sun went down for months. The week before Thanksgiving, we FINALLY got to move into our new house which has been under construction all summer. The new house is about 1000 feet away from the old one, and the chicken coop was moved over to its new location next to our also new horse barn. The first couple of weeks all was well, chickens settled into their new home quickly and as always retired to their coop as good chickens should each night.

    The last week or two the majority of the chickens have decided my nice new horse barn is a much better place to roost in during the day and at night. Only 2 out of the 10 chickens now use their coop at night, and as the rest are roosed in the high rafters of the horse barn, it isn't too easy to try to get them down to get them in their coop each night. Of course their coop would be safer for them at night, as they get locked up tight and safe from predators. The horse barn has plenty of entry points that just about any predator that wanted to could enter. Not to mention they are pooping all over my nice new horse barn which is definately not going over well with either myself or my husband.

    How do I convince the chickens they need to roost in their coop and not my barn? HELP! Contemplating building a run to keep them penned up and out of the barn, but would hate to do that as they enjoy free ranging all day. And with all the snow right now I don't think it would be too easy to build this time of year.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    You are in a tough spot with this. The chickens obviously feel safe in the barn.

    I can only think of two things to try.

    1) close the horse barn so they can't get in.
    2) try feeding them some treats at night when they should be going to bed. Feed them right in front of the coop & even toss some into the coop to encourage them going in.

    Otherwise - I'm not sure what will work.
  3. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    You should definitely close up the barn and disrupt their routine, and try luring them into the coop with treats and then locking them in before they roost for the night. Maybe it would also help to have a light on in the coop at bedtime?
  4. erinlee

    erinlee In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2010
    Baldwin MI
    Well unfortunately at the present time, the large sliding doors have not yet been put up on the barn, that is my husband and I's next project to undertake. Once those go up, I will try keeping those shut and hope that is enough to keep them from going in the barn. However, the horse stalls all have doors that open to the outside, and unless the weather is frightful we keep those open so the horses can come in their stalls and out as they please. Even with the large barn doors shut they can walk around the side and get in the horse stall doors. [​IMG]

    I did try the treat thing one or two nights and did manage to get most in the coop that way, by throwing it in the bottom portion of their coop and locking them in when they went in. Guess maybe I'll have to try that nightly and maybe they will just get back in the swing of things. Never thought of the light, maybe that will help. Maybe they are attracted by the lights in the barn so like that better than their dark coop. I'll give that a try as well.

    Any other ideas?

  5. ShaggysGirl

    ShaggysGirl Songster

    May 24, 2009
    Temperance, MI
    What I'd do is lock them in the coop for a day or two then they should figure out that is their home [​IMG]
  6. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Songster

    Nov 6, 2010
    Blue Ridge GA
    Although I hated to do it, I had my chickens wings clipped. That would stop them from flying up into the rafters. After their wings were clipped they stopped flying to the top of the coop where I didn't want them. The reason I had them clipped was they were flying over the fence and got into my neighbor's yard -- long story. I felt bad because I was concerned they couldn't protect themselves if they had to by flying away. Hasn't appeared to be an issue.

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