Should I put my flock into the coop? They aren't going in on their own

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by I'm1chickencuddler, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. I'm1chickencuddler

    I'm1chickencuddler Out Of The Brooder

    94
    0
    31
    May 31, 2011
    Ours have been out in their coop and completely enclosed yard since this past Monday. We had 3 sets of chicks at different ages that we kept in the house in separate containers unable to access each other. The first dozen was a mixed lot from a farm about an hour from my house. We were supposed to have 4 Jersey Giants, 4 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Americaunas, 1 Silkie, and 1 Naked Neck. They were all supposed to be hens as my neighbors were all okay with me having chickens illegally(just no roosters). We have 6 Moyers Large we ordered from the feed store and 8 more Americaunas from the feed store. We lost one from the original batch and 3 of my 4 Jerseys were roosters that I found new homes for at a chicken swap last weekend. Anyways, we put the remaining 11 out in the coop with a heat source 2 weeks ago(around here it goes from just above freezing to blazing in the 90's in a matter of days). The pen wasn't completely enclosed yet so they were confined to the coop only. When we got the pen finished on Monday...we had everybody in separate huge dog crates so they could all see each other and get acquainted. No problem....we let them all out andthe naked neck tried to bully a few....no problem....all is well. When it came time to close up the coop....there was nobody in it....pitch black....no chickens in their coop. Hmmmmmmm.....well....we caught them all(not hard since they all mostly like to be held and cuddled), and put them to bed. Same thing Tuesday and Wednesday. Why would they not go to bed? How long does it take for them to get the hint? We figured the original 11 out there would certainly pioneer the way to show everybody else that it was a good safe place to be. They have plenty of ventilation, food and water in their coop. They don't fuss to go in....heck, they go in it during the day. My concern is the winter months. I don't want to catch chickens in freezing weather. Should I continue to put them in bed at night or leave them be. They are completely covered with netting and fencing. The only thing I can imagine getting in is rats and snakes. Everyone gets along and they have plenty of room. They have some small trees and bushes they roost in. That's where we find some of them at night and the others are huddled together on the ground. I just want them as safe as I can possibly make them. I know I can't keep snakes out and them huddled on the ground doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. Suggestions please!!!! AND THANK YOU!!![​IMG]:weee:weee
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You have to herd them in before dark every night until, eventually, they will get into the habit. If you don't, you'll start losing them to predators, even if you think it's predator-proof. Coons go right through netting.
     
  3. chickengrl

    chickengrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    710
    1
    121
    Sep 30, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    without any hesitation.....yes! Put them in the coop every night and lock them in until they learn to go in on their own. They will eventually do it. It just takes time. We still have to chase our juveniles in even though we have older birds that go in on their own. You would think they would learn from them....[​IMG]
     
  4. I'm1chickencuddler

    I'm1chickencuddler Out Of The Brooder

    94
    0
    31
    May 31, 2011
    I was under the impression that coons only ate the eggs...not the chickens. I would be devastated to lose one of my girls. I want them safe. We keep putting them in. This is the fourth night...the same three get up in the tree and the same clicks hang out huddled on the ground in their respective corners. How do we herd them in? We are currently catching each individually. Well...we pick them up and put them in. The only catching involved is the occasional Moyers that doesn't want to be handled. I don't want them to be scared of us..we adore them....my housework is suffering because they are outside now and so am I...
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You don't even want to know what a coon will do to a chicken, trust me. Get them inside at night.


    Well, maybe I should tell you: a coon will pull a chicken through any available tiny opening, even a 1" opening, and eat it one bite at a time if he can't get the entire bird through that opening. It's not pretty.
     
  6. squeak1387

    squeak1387 Chillin' With My Peeps

    214
    0
    89
    May 15, 2011
    bronson, fl
    Create a chicken call, round them into the coop then give them a special snack. After awhile they will come when you use your chicken call and continue to give them a treat. Treats like your scraps from dinner and mellon rinds from desert work great. Took me about a 2 weeks to get mine to come to "here chicky chicky" by giving them a treat. Its amusing to see them all come running as fast as they can to see what they are getting. [​IMG]
     
  7. chickengrl

    chickengrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    710
    1
    121
    Sep 30, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    I'm1chickencuddler :

    I was under the impression that coons only ate the eggs...not the chickens. I would be devastated to lose one of my girls. I want them safe. We keep putting them in. This is the fourth night...the same three get up in the tree and the same clicks hang out huddled on the ground in their respective corners. How do we herd them in? We are currently catching each individually. Well...we pick them up and put them in. The only catching involved is the occasional Moyers that doesn't want to be handled. I don't want them to be scared of us..we adore them....my housework is suffering because they are outside now and so am I...

    Honestly, once you get chickens it seems that EVERYTHING wants to eat them......check out the predator section a bit to get an idea. Hawks, dogs, cats, coyotes, racoon, fox(or biggest issue), bear, bobcat, eagles, owls, mink, weasel..... Nightime is the biggest time for predators typically, but we have lost 4 to fox in broad daylight, and 1 to a hawk during the day. We use a little herding stick to encourage them in the correct direction, also snacks usually work great once they figure that out. Make sure you coop is CLOSED too. SOmething can get in the run and into your pop door. Good luck! [​IMG]

    PS: Chicken wire is NOT predator proof!​
     
  8. I'm1chickencuddler

    I'm1chickencuddler Out Of The Brooder

    94
    0
    31
    May 31, 2011
    The bottom of my coop is double chicken wire framed over top and bottom so nothing can get in. I live in a neighborhood with not much wildlife but the occasional coon, hawk, possum, and turtles and frogs. I don't have to deal with bears, foxes, coyotes and stuff like that. The roof vents around my roofline of the coop is double framed inside and out hardware cloth. My coop door is chicken wire framed in and has a latch. There is privacy fencing on 3 sides and regular welded wire on the fourth side. Any gaps in the fencing big enough to get more than a couple fingers through, I stapled fencing to. The entire top is netted over with deer netting and the seams are overlapped and "sewn" with nylon clothesline with no gaps at all. This netting is overlapping on all fence sides and stapled up every couple inches. It is attached to the welded fence with zip ties every other link. I pray I have coop knox because I don't want to lose anyone to anything, be it predator or disease or accident. I appreciate the treat idea and started giving them crickets tonight. I gave them all to them before I read this post and I will stock back up on crickets for tomorrow. I thank you all for your experience and advice. I do not want to have the unfortunate experience of a coon getting one of my girls. Thank you for your candor. Any other advice is welcome.
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I hate to say it, but even double chicken wire may not stop a determined predator. Chicken wire is great for keeping chickens in, but not much out. I think most folks would be surprised at how many predators roam their property at night that they are completely unaware of. And it's interesting how many people think that raccoons walk on all fours and can't stand up or climb; they just don't know what lengths some predators will go to when they have all night to work at getting to a chicken buffet.

    Best of luck to you. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by