Putting your chickens a sleep at dusk

VanUnamed

Chirping
Jul 26, 2018
105
92
81
Romania
Hello, I have a question, maybe this occurred to many of you too.
As we know, chickens go to sleep when it's dark so in essence they put themselves asleep without us.
I see my neighbour, about 45 minutes or so before it's dark dark and chickens are around, she comes with a broom, or sometimes with nothing at all, and chickens go to sleep. Mine, wait another 45 minutes before they go "by themselves". even right now in winter, i do also hear from afarr rooster making their "alarm" call or hens squawking about half an hour or so before it's dark. I assume also other people do this trick. Today I tried too. Usually they go at 6.45pm when it's so dark that i need to turn on a small 5 watt light in their coop so they can see the roosts. I went there at 6.20, i started chasing them around with a broom in my hand, after a few back and forth all went in.
I may sound mean, but today it was freezing and I really don't understand why I should wait for them to decide when it's about to sleep. They do feel fine even if it's several degrees below zero, but we do not, and also I did see the fox lurking out of the run at about well, when they decide it's time to START going to sleep.
The simple fact that they do go to sleep when one comes that is about to be dark, I suspect they DO Know it's time, but they simply ignore it.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
12,968
63,427
1,237
Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
A routine is a life saver, literally!
Luckily chickens loooooove routines.
The ones here know when I remove the cinder block that props the coop door open it is time for bed.
I started this when they were chicks.
I would give them a treat at the door, remove the block and put them in the coop.
Now they're grown, i'd look silly putting them inside and they have their own orbits so treats don't happen either.
I do still have the block, and it works just fine.
I have a second group that has heard "time for fat little chickens to go to bed" each night too.
That is all they need to hear to go roost.
I have seen my birds decision making skills, i'd never leave it up to them.:)
 

VanUnamed

Chirping
Jul 26, 2018
105
92
81
Romania
Well well, today? Went there at 6.20 as soon as I took my broom, started saying " to bed! to bed!" in less than 5 minutes all went in. So apparently it does work. Thankfully. it was 25F with strong northerly wind.
 

tdan

In the Brooder
Dec 31, 2019
69
47
42
Coastal South Carolina
Mine are up at an hour before dark since we lost several pekin to owl, in late afternoon hours. Once the bramha roo calls the girls, they go in. The ducks also go to bed and get up as the roo dictates and I think it has saved their lives. they have several thousand sqr ftt of pen but not quite free range.
 

BDutch

Crowing
May 19, 2015
575
1,306
257
the Netherlands
My Coop
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jcoz

Chirping
Oct 26, 2016
51
55
86
Erie, Pennsylvania
My girls go in as soon as the automatic barn light kicks on at dusk. If they see me outside some will come back out, but as soon as I go into the coop they follow. During winter I generally give them a snack of scratch/meal worm/black oil sunflower mix, inside the coop, just for some extra calories. I believe they anticipate that after a while. I did have one in a previous batch disappear. I was certain I had lost her to foxes. Two weeks later, I saw the little turd hiding under an upended tree stump in the woods near the run - she was sitting on two dozen eggs!
 
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