How to teach chickens to go to the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TN Henny Penny, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. TN Henny Penny

    TN Henny Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    We just finished our run this week. We have an automatic door that closes around 8 pm (based on photosensor - sunset is around 7:50 pm). The first evening, about 1/3 of our 25 pullets were in the coop at the time, so we had to entice/catch and release the others inside. The 2/3 that were outside when the door closed made quite the ruckus when the door closed! The second evening, we left a light on in the coop so that it wasn't darker than the run. All but 3 of the pullets were in before the automatic door closed. We are frustrated at the prospect of needing to turn on and turn off the light (or have another timer?). [​IMG] It seems to negate the function of the automatic door if we must make a trip to the coop to turn on the light before dusk and then turn it off after everyone's come in!

    Any other suggestions other than the light to entice the chickens to come inside on their own?
    If we continue the light routine, will the chickens eventually all come inside on their own and then can we wean them off the light to draw them in?
    Do we just need to develop 'tough love' and leave them outside in the run for a night or two? We don't have the same degree of predator protection in the run as the coop, so we'd be taking a risk to leave them out.

    Any suggestions are more than welcome!

    Thanks, Linda
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Did you leave them locked up in the coop for several days before giving them access to the run? That helps them recognize the coop as home.

    Can you adjust the door to close a bit later, like 9PM? That way it gives everyone time to get in the coop before the door closes. Some of my chickens here are still in the process of getting into the coop at 8PM.

    And no, don't leave them in the run overnight, especially if it's not secure.
     
  3. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with H C. Lock them up in the coop for a week. This will ensure they no where home is. Set the pop door to close right at dark. I don't use a light in my coop there's no need. My flock goes in before dark. I've also trained them to come when I shake a can of boss. That way I can lock them up when ever I need to. I usually sit by the coop & call them they come running I then shake the can & when their close I throw some Boss into the coop & they go in. Bingo
     
  4. TN Henny Penny

    TN Henny Penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. The chickens have lived in the coop for over a month while we finished the run. We'll have to study the manual for the door to see about adjusting it. Maybe we can 'trick' the sensor by shining a light on it for an extra 1/2 hr or so instead of putting the light on in the coop - hadn't thought of that. Is boss the same thing as scratch? We used scratch as an enticement the first night, but I can see the value of shaking the can first before they get it- we've just been tossing it on the ground. I like the idea of getting them in when needed!
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Black Oil Sunflower Seed. The seed has more protein than scratch. Its considered to be way better for your birds than scratch which has very little protein in it.
     
  6. kara_leigh

    kara_leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have much advice, other than my chickens don't go into their coop until 8:15-8:30 most days. Although the sun may have technically set, it is still fairly light out at 8:00, at least here.
     

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