New outdoor run and my chickens won't go inside at night.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CherylNJ, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. CherylNJ

    CherylNJ In the Brooder

    Nov 20, 2015
    Ocean County, New Jersey
    I am new at being a chicken momma, only about 7 months into it. We adopted our girls in April at 4 weeks of age. It was still cold so they stayed inside for the first month. When we transferred them into the coop we did a week of coop training. It worked perfectly,. every night after dusk my girls would be safely inside and we would close the hatch. Our coop design is only for 5-6 chickens since that is all we wanted to start. We built a small fully enclosed run for them to knowing that a bigger taller run would be needed by fall. So that is what we did in October. Well, now they refuse to go in at night. Every night my husband and I go to close them up and all 5 of them are happily sitting on their roost outside (even during the rain). We have to physically put them in the coop and they are not happy about it. Our run is fully enclosed and my husband has considered leaving them out, I am just too afraid. We have foxes, raccoons, stray cats and possums all running about at night.

    My question is why the sudden change and how do I get them to go back in the coop at night? We thought maybe since the roost outside is higher than inside they the coop they prefer it or could it be that since the time change it is too dark in the coop and maybe some low solar lighting would entice them to go in.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Yes, lower the roost out in the run and they may start going back in the coop at dusk.
    They like to roost as high as possible.

    Might be faster to just remove the run roost for a few days,
    then replace it at a lower level once they are going back into the coop to roost at night.

    The lower light in winter can have an effect, do you have enough windows in the coop?
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    I agree, I would remove the roost from the run altogether. And if the coop is very closed in and dark adding some light will help.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You may be a new chicken momma but your instincts are very good. Listen to them.

    Chickens are hesitant to go any place they can't see very well. A simple night light will solve this problem, at least until they become accustomed to the layout. If you lack electricity, hang a small flashlight and you can switch it off when you shut the hatch door.
  5. CherylNJ

    CherylNJ In the Brooder

    Nov 20, 2015
    Ocean County, New Jersey
    Thank you thank you thank you..... we were smart enough to make the roost secure with locks and joist hangers but removable for cleaning. Not sure if the girls will be very happy with us but it's for their own good.

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