Panic in the dark???????


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 11, 2008
Rhode Island
I am new to chickens and have 25 six week old buff orps. We moved them into their outside coop several weeks ago, and they were doing great. We put the heat light out there of course because they were still so little, and put it on a timer to go on just before dusk and to go off just before dawn. Our coop is raised approx 6 feet off the ground and they have a ramp to get up. It took them a couple weeks to get the hang of going up the ramp, but they have been doing great for the last week or so. A few did tend to stop at the top of the ramp and stay there to roost, but we were able to get them in enough to lock the door. Well a few days ago that all changed. They all decided they were going to roost at the top of the ramp and up to six inches into the coop. Well this has created a huge argument every night, because as you can imagine 25 6 week old chickens can not all fit in that amount of space. My husband and I have been tag teaming them, one of us is in the coop moving them away from the door and the other is outside encouraging them up the ramp and closing the door. This seems to be making them panic. The all then run to another corner of the coop and jam themselves into there to the point that they are jumping on each other. I'm worried about someone getting trampled. Tonight we had an AH HA moment. We have not been turning the heat light on, and tonight since it was getting dark and hard to see we turned it on for light while we were in there and they were in mid panic in the corner. They all went silent and looked up, then seemed to chill out a bit. Does the light have anything to do with it? I don't know what to do. Help!!

Solsken Farm

12 Years
Chicks are afraid of the dark in the beginning. Keep the light on to encourage them inside. After you have everything buttoned up, turn off the light. They do freak out about the dark in the beginning, poor things. It always breaks my heart....

I don't know your location, but make sure it is warm enough for them.

Enjoy! Sounds like you are doing great!


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Yep. Turn the light on in the coop until they all get inside the coop and settled for the night and then shut it off. They are gonna fuss at first, but they'll get used to it.


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
Chickens are somewhat attracted to light. They won't want to go into a dark coop if there's any light outside. Turn the light on in the coop and instead they'll be drawn into the coop as it gets dark outside. Then you can flip it off without all the trouble of trying to herd them inside.

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