My chickens hate their coop!

CalliBee

Songster
Mar 27, 2022
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Hello all,

Last year my small flock of 6 was taken out by predators (possibly raccoons). This year we purchased 11 chickens, 1 rooster, and 4 ducks. And I’m needing help on upgrading my coop because I’ve ran into some obstacles.

First off, my chickens won’t go in the coop at night. It started over a month ago with 3 of them at night roosting ON the run. But for the past couple of nights ALL of them are roosting in the trees like 10 feet in the air. I’ve tried all the tricks in the book to teach the original 3 where to go, but now since more and more are joining them, I’ve concluded that there’s something they do not like about my coop. Not enough space? Too hot at night? Temperature around here is 70-75 at night.

Second, my ducks won’t go into their duck house. We built on more run, using the frame of an old swing set and at the end of it attached a duck house(therefore sharing the run with the chickens). They’ll go into the run on their own at night but not as early I would like. I shoo them in around sunset but they’ve stayed out as late as 10 pm if I let them. The duck house is definitely too small for them (I was only expecting 2 ducks not 4)

Third, I need to predator proof it. I was hoping the attack last year was a one off since my set up has been fine the years prior, but a couple of nights ago something came and got my rooster (who sleeps in the run with the ducks) and so now I’m down one bird. I should note, that since the attack I have been putting the ducks in the main coop since it’s more secure.

I’ll post pics below but I’m using a wooden playhouse with a run built into the side made of pvc pipe, an old swing set, and chicken wire. The play house is about 7 ft by 5 ft(I don’t have exact measurements so that’s my best guess) Is this enough space for 15 chickens and ducks? Is 75 degrees too hot? Should I make a second coop for the ducks? Im aware I need to find something better than chicken wire, possibly hardware cloth, but what kind of frame would be best?
What would be some designs/plans that you would use? Please help! Thanks so much 😄
 

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Get a tape measure and get the interior measurements. 7'x5' is enough room for about 8-9 chickens. Also how much ventilation is there in the coop? I see one small window, is there any more? There should be at least 1 sq ft of ventilation per bird.

Is it dark inside the coop at dusk? If birds can't see, they won't want to go in.

What is the temperature inside the coop vs outside?

Your set up is definitely not predator proof so even if the birds don't want to go in, they should be forced in in the evening. You said they're roosting on trees in the evening - sounds like they need to be confined to the run until that habit is broken. However the run is too small for confinement for that many birds...

As far as the run structure, look into hoop coops (which in this case could also be used for a run) - similar to what you have now but not PVC and chicken wire.
 
Hello all,

Last year my small flock of 6 was taken out by predators (possibly raccoons). This year we purchased 11 chickens, 1 rooster, and 4 ducks. And I’m needing help on upgrading my coop because I’ve ran into some obstacles.

First off, my chickens won’t go in the coop at night. It started over a month ago with 3 of them at night roosting ON the run. But for the past couple of nights ALL of them are roosting in the trees like 10 feet in the air. I’ve tried all the tricks in the book to teach the original 3 where to go, but now since more and more are joining them, I’ve concluded that there’s something they do not like about my coop. Not enough space? Too hot at night? Temperature around here is 70-75 at night.

Second, my ducks won’t go into their duck house. We built on more run, using the frame of an old swing set and at the end of it attached a duck house(therefore sharing the run with the chickens). They’ll go into the run on their own at night but not as early I would like. I shoo them in around sunset but they’ve stayed out as late as 10 pm if I let them. The duck house is definitely too small for them (I was only expecting 2 ducks not 4)

Third, I need to predator proof it. I was hoping the attack last year was a one off since my set up has been fine the years prior, but a couple of nights ago something came and got my rooster (who sleeps in the run with the ducks) and so now I’m down one bird. I should note, that since the attack I have been putting the ducks in the main coop since it’s more secure.

I’ll post pics below but I’m using a wooden playhouse with a run built into the side made of pvc pipe, an old swing set, and chicken wire. The play house is about 7 ft by 5 ft(I don’t have exact measurements so that’s my best guess) Is this enough space for 15 chickens and ducks? Is 75 degrees too hot? Should I make a second coop for the ducks? Im aware I need to find something better than chicken wire, possibly hardware cloth, but what kind of frame would be best?
What would be some designs/plans that you would use? Please help! Thanks so much 😄
Until you make your chickens a safe coop & run they'll continue to sleep in trees.
They only started roosting in trees after the rooster got killed.Who can blame them?
 
Until you make your chickens a safe coop & run they'll continue to sleep in trees.
They only started roosting in trees after the rooster got killed.Who can blame them?
As I stated, a few of them have been sleeping on top of the run prior to the attack. Yes the attack might have had an affect on the rest of them, however my question is, is what kind of coop redesign would you suggest.
 
Get a tape measure and get the interior measurements. 7'x5' is enough room for about 8-9 chickens. Also how much ventilation is there in the coop? I see one small window, is there any more? There should be at least 1 sq ft of ventilation per bird.
I’ll get an exact measurement here in a little bit, I’m afraid it is too small. And it’s just the one window. I’m not sure how to incorporate more ventilation? Would I have to cut holes in the walls? Wouldn’t that make it more accessible to predators? (Sorry if that’s a silly question, I’m not the most handy person in the world).Is it dark inside the coop at dusk? If birds can't see, they won't want to go in.There’s a light I turn on right before dusk to encourage them, but never works. They rather the trees and on top of the run

What is the temperature inside the coop vs outside?

Maybe around 80’s or more with all that body heat. I can test it tonight

Your set up is definitely not predator proof so even if the birds don't want to go in, they should be forced in in the evening. You said they're roosting on trees in the evening - sounds like they need to be confined to the run until that habit is broken. However the run is too small for confinement for that many birds...
And yes, I do force them inside at dusk. Once I get them down from the trees and off the run they march right into the coop without me having to do much more than that. I don’t let them stay outside all night. I’ve tried everything to teach the original 3 that liked to roost on top of the run(by locking them in the coop for a week, using lights, etc) but now more and more girls are joining them. I’m starting over again now, but it leads me to believe something about it they don’t like. Most of them have went right in perfectly up until a few days ago(after the rooster was taken) which might be a factor for them, however the roo was in the run the night he was snatched, while everyone else(besides ducks) were in the coop. Not sure if they saw what happened or not.
As far as the run structure, look into hoop coops (which in this case could also be used for a run) - similar to what you have now but not PVC and chicken wire.
And thanks I’ll definitely look into those, never heard of them. I’m not the most handy person, and improvised on the coop I currently have which the flock I had prior to this was never this complicated and stubborn! Granted it was only 6, and not 16…
 
Yes more ventilation. If you have power nearby, install an outdoor rated fan to pull air out on one side of the coop. I have 3 windows and a solar fan on my coop.

Get rid of the pvc and chicken wire. Coons are stronger than heck.

I've caught Coons on my game camera snooping around and made no attempt since my run is like Fort Knox.
 
Yes more ventilation. If you have power nearby, install an outdoor rated fan to pull air out on one side of the coop. I have 3 windows and a solar fan on my coop.

Get rid of the pvc and chicken wire. Coons are stronger than heck.

I've caught Coons on my game camera snooping around and made no attempt since my run is like Fort Knox.
Is there any links of ideas of how to add ventilation to my coop? Will just a fan do and the one window? Technically there’s another window on the other side but I keep it closed because there’s nothing keeping anything out when it’s opened.
 
Also, I have another question. What’s the math for roosting? I’m spending my day trying to add more places for them to roost inside
 
Is there any links of ideas of how to add ventilation to my coop? Will just a fan do and the one window? Technically there’s another window on the other side but I keep it closed because there’s nothing keeping anything out when it’s opened.
A small shutter fan like this will work. Cut hole in wall and install.
 

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