How to train chickens to go back to their coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by alr2014, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. alr2014

    alr2014 Hatching

    Dec 2, 2014
    We have 13 layers- about 15 weeks old. I want to start letting them out for a few hours in the evenings since the weather is getting better. I worry that they won't go back to their coop. How can I train them to return to their coop?
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    if they have already been living in the coop for a while, they should go in on their own. Do they know how to roost? Sometimes when you first let them out, a few may get caught by dusk and will stay where they are. You have to find them and return them. They will learn. [​IMG]
  3. maddog3355

    maddog3355 In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2014
    I use bread. Every time you go to the coop take a piece of bread and pinch of small pieces the size of a penny. Throw that to them and. Do that for awhile and they will go anywhere. If I'm not leaving or too busy I will let them go in the coop at dusk and shut them up after dark but I can put them up anytime of day with the bread trick.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
    2 people like this.
  4. Messipaw

    Messipaw Songster

    Apr 3, 2013
    I kept my girls in their coop for a week straight. Then introduced them to the pen. I left the poop door open so they could have full access. Once they started going into the coop on their own and roosting I started to let them free range. I let them out about an hour before dark. The reason for this is so they didn't roam to far. I increased their free range little by little and it all worked out. They always returned to the run about 30 mins before dark then they filed into the coop to roost one by one. Hope this helps.
    1 person likes this.
  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Their natural instinct is to go back into their coop just before dusk. You may have to spend a little time getting them to understand the ramp/ladder or how to not form a pile that blocks the pop door (mine took about three days to figure that out when they were moved from the brooder to the coop and run) but for the most part they just know where "home" is and will go there on their own.
  6. tigereyesi

    tigereyesi Hatching

    Apr 26, 2015
    My chicks are just over 4 weeks old and i moved them to the coop and left them for a week solid in the coop and then introduced them to the run. I have tried turning on the light to see if they will return on their own and they dont. Last couple days have been warm and they have spent the entire day outside. Last night it was dark and they were all together outside. They have a plank to use to get back in the coop which they use to leave the coop. The coop size is 8'by 8'
  7. maddog3355

    maddog3355 In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2014
    Did you try my method that I use? You can train a chicken to fly up into a tree if you have a treat to give them.
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    The light is telling them that it's not time to return to the coop. Let the natural decrease in daylight get them to retreat to the coop m
  9. tigereyesi

    tigereyesi Hatching

    Apr 26, 2015
    I will try treats, last night i tried with out the light and they were still outside huddled together.
  10. DanEP

    DanEP Songster

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    I always leave young birds in the coop only for about a week so they get it that this is home. Then open the pop door and and allow them access to the run. when every one is going back into the coop at night I let them get used to this routine for a couple of weeks before I even think about letting them out to free range.It can also help if you give them any treats in the run late in the day so they get the idea that the run is a good place to be at dusk.A handful of scratch can get them all back in the run and then you can just lock them in and let them go to bed on their own.don't try to put them in the coop too early as young birds tend to stay out till the last minute, older birds go to bed early but the kids still want to stay up and play just like kids. Once their in the run see if they go to roost on their own just later. It will take time for them to get it but they will, some faster than others Just make sure they consider the coop home before you try free ranging and start with short periods of time late in the day and slowly extend the time their out and you'll be fine. My mixed age flock breaks up into separate groups and range over about three acres but they all show up at bedtime

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