How to teach chicks to go in at night? *Update*

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Willow's Meadow, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    My chicks are 5 weeks old and stay outside most of the day(usually the whole day). At night when I bring them in they don't want to come in! They run away from me and hide under bushes. How can I teach them to come in at night? I hear of a lot of people's chickens going in at dusk by themselves.....but my'n won't even come in with me trying to get them in! It turns into a game of chase the chick(and its not fun!). How can I teach them to come in at night?
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010

  2. DukesAngel

    DukesAngel In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    It just takes time. Mine took a week to understand that at night they go in the coop. I would lock the birds in the coop for a day or two, with food and water of course, so they figure out the coop is home. Trust me, it is such a relief to just walk outside around 9 and their all in the coop already. [​IMG]
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Yah, if you had locked them inside the coop for about a week before you let them out into the run, they'd "get" it into their little heads that inside the coop is "home" and safe and where they need to be at night. You could still do that, if you want to imprint them with that knowledge now.

    It's an exercise (literally!) to chase chicks INTO a coop before they're ready. Wait until they settle down at dusk, then pick them up and carry them inside. After 3 days of that, they generally go in by themselves at dusk.

    Another way to get them into the coop - again, near dusk, otherwise it's just gonna get sweaty and tiresome to chase 'em - is to call 'em and toss some treats inside through the pop door. This is less successful than the above method, but it works for some folks.

    Develop a chicken call, that you use when you want them to gather. Use it when you bring out treats for them. (Mine is silly, because I started it when I got my first chicks. I would step outside and say, "Chickens! I have CHICKENS!" every day, sometimes twice - once in the morning when I let them out of the coop, and once when I got home from work at night and gave 'em a treat. They learned to come for that call. I use it still, even though I'm sure my neighbors probably wonder when I'll get tired of announcing my chicken ownership to the world.)
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  4. Lifetime chicken lover

    Lifetime chicken lover Songster

    Jun 26, 2009
    Rogers, MN
    TREATS!!! My chickens know me as the treat-lady! When I come out of the house they are all around me- they come from all corners of the 7 acres to get my treats. Everyday, like clockwork, I go out to the run just after dinner (6-7pm) with treats (bread, leftovers, fruit, whatever) and my chickens come running. Then all I have to do is wait for them all to come in and close the door. Although, they now have become very demanding and won't go into the coop until they've had treats.[​IMG]
  5. kannna

    kannna Songster

    Jul 2, 2010
    Martha's Vineyard
    i have a mason jar with scratch in it i shake. They know that I am throwin it in the pen so they usually come running. If they don't go in on thier own, I have a 6ft long stick and herd them in like sheep. I don't touch them with it, just guide them toward the gate. Usually if they see me with the stick they know where they are headed.
  6. Yeah we have a little white bucket that we use for the scratch....we call it chicken "crack" because I swear they would do ANYTHING for it!!

    We shake the bucket and call "Here, chick, chick, chick, chickens!!"

    God forbid if you have to change the coop position after they know how to go in. We just completed the "big girls" new coop and it's on the north side of the barn instead of the south side. would have though it was 10 acres away. It's been 6 days and just last night they finally all went in without too much fuss. The other nights required a good deal of chicken crack and a bit of herding them until almost dark to get all 20 of them in.

    Last night, they all went in within about 5 minutes!!! Never did I think that would be something to celebrate in my life!!! [​IMG]
  7. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    "Ounce of prevention" stuff Make sure your chicks are roosting in the coop before allowing them outside--that way they pretty much know where to go at night. Now you're going to have to "train" them to come in, gonna take patience and a lot of scratch grain.

  8. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    I didn't leave them locked in the coop for a week or anything. I just let them into the run and the coop right away. We have been under a 3 week straight(and still going on) heat wave. High 90s and above and it gets really hot in the coop! I have fans running on the floor and the ceiling fans stay on plus all the doors are open. But its humid, hot and not breezy. They pant even when in the coop at 11 am!!!! So what should I do? It seems like every night its getting easyier. But we kinda have to carry them in. Also can they have scratch(there 5 wks. old)? I am trying to teach them to come to me when I call them and they are learning!
  9. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    I go through the same thing when I add new pullets to the Hen House. They go from the Brooder or Grow out house to the Hen house. Each house has its own run, but the hens and pullets also have yard time.

    Once they are moved to the hen house and I let the hens out of course the pullets go out, too. So for about 4 days its a chore to get them to go to the right house in the evening. Just keep putting them in, they will get the idea and follow the others at some point. Scratch and a pointy pole help tremendously.
  10. TyrannosaurusChix

    TyrannosaurusChix Songster

    Jul 13, 2010
    Savannah, NY
    i put a light in it.. they went in that night.. thankfully since they stayed out in the rain and huddle so close togeth the littlest one met its maker.. i put the light in the next day and no problem since

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