Is it OK to leave my chickens locked in the coop for the winter?

ChickenJV12

Songster
Sep 28, 2018
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Hudsonville, MI
Ok, so I have around 15 chickens and my coop is about 150 sq ft. These chickens are free range. What I'm going to do is give them 14 hours of light a day using a combination of natural and artifical light to make sure they keep laying. I am providing the chickens some entertainment as well. The chickens have been in there for a couple days now, should I continue doing this? Why or why not?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
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Jul 16, 2015
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The only time I went from no confinement to confinement my birds started to peck each other after about a week. They actually peck a polish rooster enough that he didn't survive. I would expect you to have similar problems.

If you were to have a lot more space it could work, but I personally wouldn't in yours, it's already full.
 

ChickenJV12

Songster
Sep 28, 2018
141
257
132
Hudsonville, MI
The only time I went from no confinement to confinement my birds started to peck each other after about a week. They actually peck a polish rooster enough that he didn't survive. I would expect you to have similar problems.

If you were to have a lot more space it could work, but I personally wouldn't in yours, it's already full.
The main reason I'm doing this is so the pullets know where to lay, since they will start to lay soon. I'm trying to get the right idea for where they should lay. This is because my chickens are free range, and never go in the coop. I think they need to get used to it.
 

PetesChicks

Songster
Aug 21, 2016
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Podunk, MA
If they need to get used to the coop being home, it is OK to lock them in, but not for the winter. Locking them in for a week or maybe two will do the trick. After that, they should go in every night when it’s time for bed. I have 8 girls in my coop, about 100 sq. ft., and the run is about 180 sq. ft. They spend a lot of time in the coop during the day, especially in winter, but it’s good to give them the chance to get outdoors when they want.
 

suzanny

Hatching
Nov 8, 2018
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4
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They really only need to be outside their coop for about 5 hours to be considered free-range. Mine always come inside in the evening and I let them out in the morning. Get a bag of dried mealworms and they'll learn really quick to come back in when you ask them to. I've only had one chicken that liked to lay her eggs on my patio chair. Everyone else likes the nesting box.
 

animalyodelers

Songster
Oct 21, 2018
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Olympia, WA, USA
I wouldn't think it would take them long to learn. Is it possible to attach a temporary run so they have at least some access to outside?

I put mine in the coop for most of one day and that was all it took. Their run and coop were brand new to them. They always settle into their coop on their own at night, or if the weather is bad. I put their food and water in there for about a week just to reinforce the idea that it was "home."
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
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The main reason I'm doing this is so the pullets know where to lay, since they will start to lay soon. I'm trying to get the right idea for where they should lay. This is because my chickens are free range, and never go in the coop. I think they need to get used to it.
Not a bad idea to get them used to it...cause there will be days when they won't want to go out at all, like this weekend when the Lake Effect machine tunes up for the first time.

They never go in the coop....where is their feed and water?
 

ChickenJV12

Songster
Sep 28, 2018
141
257
132
Hudsonville, MI
The main reason I'm doing this is so the pullets know where to lay, since they will start to lay soon. I'm trying to get the right idea for where they should lay.
I'm doing this c
Not a bad idea to get them used to it...cause there will be days when they won't want to go out at all, like this weekend when the Lake Effect machine tunes up for the first time.

They never go in the coop....where is their feed and water?
Their feed and water is in the coop, but they only ate grass and bugs in summer and spring and drank water from our cow waterer. They need to learn to eat their food and drink from their water.
 

ChickenJV12

Songster
Sep 28, 2018
141
257
132
Hudsonville, MI
They really only need to be outside their coop for about 5 hours to be considered free-range. Mine always come inside in the evening and I let them out in the morning. Get a bag of dried mealworms and they'll learn really quick to come back in when you ask them to. I've only had one chicken that liked to lay her eggs on my patio chair. Everyone else likes the nesting box.
The problem is, how do I get them in the coop in the evening? They never sleep in the coop.
 
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