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How to tell chicks to go to bed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AlexKilpatrick, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. AlexKilpatrick

    AlexKilpatrick In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2011
    So yesterday was the first day my flock spent outside the coop, in the run. I was wondering if they would go to bed when it was dark, but as night fell, they all just slept in a heap outside the coop. So I put them back in coop where they slept overnight. This evening I tried to see if they would go into the coop about dusk, but they were adamantly against it. I chased them all and shoved them in the coop. As I left, they were all squacking their indignation at having to go inside before it was actually dark.

    So, a couple of questions:

    1) What is the normal time the chicks should go back in the coop?
    2) Is there any technique for "encouraging" them to go back in the coop?


  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers


    Get them used to a particular can or jar, a plastic coffee bin works well. Put their treats like BOSS (Black oil sunflower seed) or dry, rolled oats in it, and shake it when you call them for treats. Do this often enough, they will follow you into the coop (if you can go inside it). If not, just chuck some of the treats inside when you want them to go in... but it will ALWAYS be a fight if that's before dusk!

    They might need a night light in their coop, if it's dark in there when you try to put them to bed. They won't be so scared to go inside, then.
  3. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Turn on alight in the coop, so as it gets dark outside, it is light inside - they generally head to the lighted area.

    Throw some scratch in the coop around dusk to help them decide to go in, the shut door and turn out the light.
  4. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Songster

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    I had to catch mine and put them back into the coop for a little over a week and then one night I went out and they had all cooped up except for 4 little rebels and within the next week or so they got the idea too. Usually right after sundown they start heading to the coop.
  5. myhubbycallsmechickeemama

    myhubbycallsmechickeemama Songster

    May 9, 2011
    Arco, ID
    Quote:I tried all of these things and they didn't work for my girls but hey, I got a really good workout trying to catch 5 week old chicks in the run!!! Who knew that raising chickens I could lose 10lbs in about 2 months!?! [​IMG]
  6. AlexKilpatrick

    AlexKilpatrick In the Brooder

    Mar 20, 2011
    When you guys say "sundown" do you mean the time the sun literally goes down, or when it actually gets dark?

    Thanks for the tip about the light. I would have never even thought about that.
  7. TrystInn

    TrystInn Songster

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    I use an LED sensor nightlight that comes on as it gets dark in the coop, works like a charm to help them go inside at dusk. We also got into the habit when they were younger of giving them a treat of scratch inside the coop, to help motivate and train them.

    Good luck!

  8. gvilledh

    gvilledh Songster

    Jun 8, 2011
    Greenville, SC
    We are dealing with this right now, too. The first two nights, they had to be caught and put in. The third night, however, when I went to help, they had already gone inside. We closed the door and I went inside to visit for a few minutes since they weren't on their roosts and settled yet. The next time we checked on them, they were starting to settle on the roosts. The night before, they were still sleeping on the floor of the coop.
    Today, we had a storm coming up and I went to put them inside since I wasn't completely sure they would go in on their own. I have a plastic bag with dry oatmeal and that is the trick. As soon as they saw it, all but the Silkie came inside. She insisted on being the town crier. It would thunder, she would run back down the ramp and squawk at it! Finally had some help from my friend's son and got her safely inside before the rain hit.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    One way is to get them used to the coop by shutting them in it or couple of days or so, then let them out. This way can get used to being inside the coop and may go in better in the evening. I also have night lights in my coops. At first I put the lights in for me so I could go out once in awhile and check on them throughout the night. I have found the birds on the floor of their coop when a light has burnt out and as soon as I replace the light they are up on their roosts. I also gave them some treats in their coop in the evenings. I started the treats when I had shut them in for at first few days and when I finally let them out they would go in for their treats in the evenings. Slowly I slowed down on the treats until I stopped giving the treats and they were going in without treats. It worked for me.
  10. jwg423

    jwg423 Chirping

    Jun 10, 2011
    This is what we did, they went near the coop but wouldn't go in, after herding them in every night for about a week they just started going in on their own right about dusk, now they have it figured out and right about the time it starts getting dark all I have to do is go out and close the door.

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