How to train chickens to go into separate coops

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rockadoodledoo, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. rockadoodledoo

    rockadoodledoo Just Hatched

    Apr 12, 2017
    College Station, TX
    We have 12 free range chickens between the ages of 9-10 weeks.

    3 Ameraucana/E. Eggers
    2 Gold sex links
    2 Barred Rock - 1 is a rooster
    1 Black Sex link
    1 Leghorn
    1 Buff Brahma
    1 SL Wyandotte
    1 Polish Bantam

    They all get along excellently. Still establishing their order. And we have two coops, they sleep in one all together right now as they are still small, but as they get bigger I want to move half to the other coop so they have more room. They all go up into the same coop at night on their own. How can I train some of them to go into the other coop? Thanks!
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Once you wish to separate them, then put some in the second coop (with food and water) for a few days. It may not work, as chickens are social animals and prefer the comfort of the flock.

    I've never done this before, so hopefully members with experience will chime in.
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    You are attempting to do the impossible. Even if you lock them in the other coop for a while they more than likely would return to the original coop when let out. Each coop would require it's own run, and you will need to keep them locked in it for quite a while. As they mature it's possible they might go into the other one if the original is crowded, but you never know with chickens.
    CTKen likes this.
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When attempting to train chickens to do anything, it's useful to understand what motivates them. Then you may achieve 50% of your objective.

    One thing that motivates chickens is habit. Forcing them to do something for several days running takes advantage of this inclination. But be prepared for it to work only half the time since there are other motivations that will affect results.

    Another thing that influences behavior is flock dynamics. I have three young hens that were raised together in one coop, and recently one has elected to go live in the coop at the opposite end of the run. I've also had other hens decided arbitrarily to go sleep in the other coop from time to time, and it's almost always due to conflicts at roosting time.

    Another thing that affects where chickens choose to sleep is peer associations. Those brooded together have a strong life-long urge to want to associate with one another, sleeping and ranging together. This is difficult to overcome. Splitting them up may produce mixed results.

    The best thing to do is to coop up the individuals you wish to move into the second coop for a few days until they imprint on it as home. But be prepared for some to have other ideas.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    From my limited experience with the situation you are trying to accomplish, I'm guessing it will be practically impossible. Those youngsters are a flock. And being part of a flock is instinctively important to their survival. Roosting time is their most vulnerable time, and they will do all in their power to stay together at roost time. Even if it means severe over crowding. Is there any way you can merge the 2 coops into one? This is just my opinion.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by