Letting chickens know where "home" is

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aimeemarie01, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. aimeemarie01

    aimeemarie01 Just Hatched

    12
    0
    12
    Jun 22, 2016
    Rutland MA
    Hi, I'm still new to chickens, I've only had them about 3 months and I've been reading up on them and I've seen some people say that when I introduce them to their outdoor coop I should keep them inside it for almost a week. I've had my chickens outdoors about a month and never kept them in longer than overnight. Should I try it now? They get very upset if I put them in the coop before dusk. They seem like they know they where "home" is but sometimes I'm not sure. Unless it's after dark, I have to chase them for a while to get them in the coop and every time they get frightened they run to my door. Does this mean they are confused and should I try keeping them inside for a week?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    27,323
    10,865
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    It seems that opinions differ. I usually only keep new chickens in the coop for 48 hours and after that, they know where to go at dusk.

    CT
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,225
    2,224
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    My coops have attached runs so when I want to retrain them to "home", I keep them in their coop/run set ups for a week or so. Something to take into consideration is the size of your coop and the number of hens. If you have a larger shed-type coop and no run, it could be OK to just leave them in there, but if you have one of those little pre-fab doll house type coops and no run, they'd be too crowded for that.
     
  4. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer Premium Member

    How so? If I want to put the chooks inside early, they don't really have a say about that.... LOL

    I find the way to get them to go inside willingly is to do the "pied piper" with something yummy to eat. They don't mind going inside when they're getting something to go inside for.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,225
    2,224
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    Agreed - it's much easier to lead chickens than it is to herd (chase) them. They will also learn to trust you rather than see you as a threat. They are highly motivated by food.
     
  6. aimeemarie01

    aimeemarie01 Just Hatched

    12
    0
    12
    Jun 22, 2016
    Rutland MA
    usually they make loud clucks as if to let me know they want to get out and they try to open the door themselves. Motivating them with food sounds like a good idea, do you have any suggestions on some treats they might like?
     
  7. saulsx

    saulsx Out Of The Brooder

    37
    5
    21
    Jun 7, 2016
    Seems opinions & methods differ.

    We picked our chicks up & put them in the coop the first couple of days they were out in the coop/tractor. They would take turns snooping around some but had little interest in actually going in by themselves. I used some regular feed to lure them into the coop the 3rd night by just holding out a handful. One started pecking it out of my hand, the others followed, & I eventually led them up the ramp & into the coop. By the 4th night, they all went into the coop on their own just before dark. Also learned that I had to re-think our design & block off access to the nesting boxes & tops since they were either trying to roost on top or all trying to pile into the same box.

    The noise is probably just a fuss over the change of environment. Ours did the same at first but would quiet down after a while.
     
  8. aimeemarie01

    aimeemarie01 Just Hatched

    12
    0
    12
    Jun 22, 2016
    Rutland MA

    Thanks for the suggestion. Have you ever tried luring them in during the day with food? Mine don't have a problem going in at night but sometimes if no one is home I put them in the coop because there are foxes around my house and during the day is when I have trouble with them.
     
  9. saulsx

    saulsx Out Of The Brooder

    37
    5
    21
    Jun 7, 2016
    So, you don't have any trouble with them returning to the coop at night on their own & the issue is the chickens fussing about being in the coop during the day while you're at work, or something like that? Do they free range or are they in a run? How big is the coop & how many chickens?

    Haven't tried or worried about luring them in during the day. We have our 4 chicks in a portable coop/tractor & don't free range at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  10. aimeemarie01

    aimeemarie01 Just Hatched

    12
    0
    12
    Jun 22, 2016
    Rutland MA

    Yes, they are free range and there are three. I don't really know how big the coop is but the box says it fits 8 adult chickens. I tried luring them in with feeding fruits but they didn't come, I finally just gave up and gave them the food and had to catch them later.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by