My chicks won't go into the coop at night.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JFoos, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. JFoos

    JFoos In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2016
    I have 6 chicks around 8 weeks old. I open the pop door before I go to work at about 5 o'clock, roughly an hour before daylight. I'm most certain that they do not come out before daylight. The problem is they won't go back up at dusk. I know that they can climb the ladder because they play on it throughout the day. Are the too young to know what to do? Is it because they feel safe enough in the run not to go back to the coop? Any help is appreciated.[​IMG]
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Chicks being raised by a hen learn to go in at dusk because the mother hen takes them inside, new birds introduced to a flock know to follow the rest of the flock into the right place at dusk -- chicks that have been brooded without a hen and have no flock to lead them need you to teach them what they are meant to do. There are a few ways to do this.
    Most coops get dark before it is dark outside due to being enclosed -- this leads young chicks to stay outside trying to cling to the last bits of light and then being "stuck" there once it is dark. If possible, placing a light source inside the coop can help to lead them in as it grows darker outside as they will be drawn to the lighter area of the coop interior. Once they learn the routine the light can be removed and, of course, you don't want to leave it on all night as that disrupts their natural day/night cycle and can short circuit the routine you are trying to build for them.
    Alternatively, you can go out a bit before dusk and call them into the coop, lure them with treats, etc -- a few days of repetition and they will have a new evening routine.
    I personally prefer methods that have the birds moving up and into the coop on their own power over physically collecting and placing them into the coop as I like them to learn that they are meant to walk up and in at dusk.
    2 people like this.
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    It can take months before chicks will reliably put themselves to bed at night. Expect to have to put them in for a while. I can't see your coop clearly, smaller coops can have troubles with ventilation, make sure especially as it gets warmer that it doesn't heat up too much in it which will cause them to not want to roost in it.
    1 person likes this.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When I raised my first few batches of chicks, I thought the only way to get them into the coop at night was to chase them down and catch them and stuff them one by one into the coop. Well, that is one way, but the stress it produces for chicks and human alike simply isn't worth it. Do not do it!

    Instead, I figured out a way to make the chicks' own instincts work in my favor. I wait until the lat minute after all the adults have gone to roost, making things simple, and I wait until I see the chicks begin to congregate in a group, near the coop, making their bedtime trilling noises. This is important. It means they want to find someplace safe to sleep.

    Then I physically climb into the coop and get behind the pop hole with a light, any small flashlight or pen light will do. You need to make it lighter inside than outside in the run so the chicks can see where they're going.

    Then I call them using their favorite treat - meal worms. The first time may take a while, but first one brave and greedy chick will take the "bait", soon followed by another. Be patient. Resist the urge to go back outside and stuff them in though the pop hole. They will eventually all go inside.

    You repeat this the second night. It will be easier. By the third night, they have it about down. And by the fourth night, they're going inside on their own.

    You don't necessarily need the light after they're used to sleeping in the coop.

    So, to summarize, wait until the last minute before dark. Wait until they start to group together for sleep. Wait until you hear the night time trilling, signalling they intend to go to sleep.

    Piece of cake.
    2 people like this.

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