My chickens have forgotten where they sleep. Help!

dulcimer lady

9 Years
Apr 22, 2010
I originally had a flock of 6. When they were old enough to go outside I kept them confined to their coop for a few days so they would know it is home. I never had a minutes trouble with them coming out in the day and going back in at dust. When they were 7 weeks old, I purchased 3 more chicks which were 6 weeks old. The first night I went out to check on them and my original 6 were inside like normal and the new 3 were wandering around confused. I put them inside. After this the new 3 chicks would just hunker down in a spot outside at dusk and I would come and plop them in the coop. After about 3 or 4 days of that, they made the connections and went in on their own. Now everyone was going in the coop at night like they should.

Then about a week ago, somehow the door to the coop got shut and none of the chickens could get inside. It was after dark when I discovered this and I had 6 chickens on top of the coop on the roof going to sleep and 3 doing the same on the ground. I opened the coop and put them all in. The next night, the same thing happened. I am now really observant about that door and making sure it stays open. But apparently 2 nights in a row of that happening has messed with their memory of what they are supposed to do. Now, every night I have either 5 or 6 chickens going to sleep on the roof of the coop and I have to pick them up and put them in. This has been going on for about a week.

What can I do to help them realize what they are supposed to be doing? I think at this point they think me coming out and picking them up and putting them to bed is the normal thing. Ack!


9 Years
Jan 25, 2010
Central Indiana
You change one thing and suddenly they all think this is the new norm. *shakes head* I had to start propping the coop door open so it never shuts accidentally. Maybe try to put something on the coop to prevent them getting up there at all. Some kind of temporary fencing on top that sticks out from the roof so they cannot even get up there. Hopefully after about a week they'll get the point.

I had one of my girls get sick and so I had her sleep in my laundry room for 3 days. I would bring her in early and feed her and give her water with electrolytes while the girls outside put themselves to bed. On day 3 she was healthy enough to start sleeping outside so I put her in the coop the first night because she expected to come inside with me. For 4 days she would stay near the back door while the others went to the coop and I'd have to pick her up and put her in the coop. I also had to put her near the "best position" on roost because the others treated her as if she were carrying the plague. After a week she would go to bed with the others.

They didn't forget where they sleep, they just found a better spot to sleep.
Unfortunately predators can climb up there too. Some people would say to lock them in for a week so they get the point. You could try that too.

I still have 1 chicken who prefers to be picked up and brought to the coop and this has been going on for a week. She's the top hen too. I pick her up, bring her to the nest box, and she sleeps in there. She prefers just to sit on her nest and avoid the night time conflicts between the other girls.

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