So who should head into the coop first at night?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bobbieschicks, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I'm wondering who is the first to go in - is it the head hen or the bottom rung hen? Because I can't get my new chicks to head into the coop by themselves yet. Until they figure it out I will need to put them in there, but I don't want to do it before the head hen goes in if she should be first because I don't want them getting kicked back out by her.

    They all figured out how to get out of the coop, but I don't think they have quite figured out how to get back into the coop yet. They are going to be seven weeks old this coming Tuesday.

  2. GardenState38

    GardenState38 Songster

    Apr 13, 2011
    My pullets also didn't automatically go into the coop at sundown, when I first put them out there.
    Instead of rounding them up and putting them in myself (which seemed to stress them out as much as it did me!), I closed them into the coop for about 3 days, not allowing them to go out into the run.
    This allowed them to get used to the coop and learn that it is now home base. I've read other posts where people have done the same.
    It did the trick--the first day they were allowed back into the run, they all started chattering at sundown and while some of the lower-rung pullets would run in and out of the coop, they wouldn't stay inside until the lead hen decided it was time to go in. Once she went in, all of the others ran in.
    I don't know if that is the usual rank order, and at least I "think" she's the lead hen--sometimes it gets a little hard to tell with my girls. They all get along pretty well and the one that I believe to be the lead hen is so mellow.
    In the morning, however, the first one OUT is usually my little banty EE! She squeezes underneath everyone and makes a beeline down the ramp!
  3. Grog

    Grog Chirping

    Oct 1, 2011
    for 2 days after I put out new birds I run them into the coop AFTER DARK. They get the idea after that and do it themselves.
  4. I had to help mine learn how to go up. They new how to go down, but not up. After a while, they got it. They knew where home was, just not how to navigate the walk up. It was a learning experience for me too. I had to find the right walk up for them. We've gone thru about 4 different varieties that worked for all the birds. My silkies didn't do so well with some styles, and the big girls didn't seem to want to walk up, they wanted to fly up, but then could quite figure out how to walk across the wire... They'll figure out the order on their own...

  5. Chris Herzog

    Chris Herzog Songster

    Oct 16, 2011
    In the beginning, I would leave the light on in both the run and in the coop. My birds would always migrate towards the light. Now if I want them in the run I put the run light on and turn the coop light off. If I want them in the coop I put the coop light on and turn the run off. If I don't do anything, they are all sleeping in the coop when I go out to lock up at night. I do have a night light in the coop that comes on automatically. My wife just walked in a couple of hours ago and told me she checked on the birds on the way in. She turned off the run light and did a head count as they walked in the coop one behind the other through the guillotine door. I love that!
  6. Chemguy

    Chemguy Songster

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    This is a good question. For me, it's still not clear if I have a dominant or submissive hen out of the eight (20 weeks, 4 BR and 4BO). It does seem that once the sun hits the horizon, no matter who goes in, the rest follow instantly. It's like clockwork. I've tried to figure out if there is a heirarchy, but simply cannot (though not for lack of trying). I do not expect this to last, btw. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.
  7. cravenchx

    cravenchx Songster

    Aug 7, 2011
    Piedmont of NC
    My leghorns always go in first. After that, they
    are on their own.

  8. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Well my dominate hen is a leghorn so maybe I'll just let her go in first [​IMG]

    I can't lock them in unless I lock everyone in since that is where their food is and I'd have to move the water back in there too.

    I think they will figure it out after a couple of times of me putting them away.
  9. brownysfp

    brownysfp Songster

    Dec 1, 2010
    Correze, France
    Our chicks have always taken a few days to understand the coop. They happily follow mum out in the morning; come the evening, they mill around squeaking pathetically outside whilst she gets herself comfy inside. They get the idea after a while but it can be frustrating trying to herd them in - especially if mum comes out again to "defend" them.
    With the adults I've found the Houdans, Faverolles and Brahmas are always in first, both hens and roosters. Last in - in order - are three roos: the older Barred Rock, followed by a BR x Copper Black Maran then the younger Light Sussex. In the juveniles coop there's no sense of order, just a scramble for the best roost won by the quickest bird!

  10. stormylady

    stormylady Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    You know I don't know? I just put all of them in the coop at night and closed them in when they were young chicks and now that their older, a few stray girls may go in early because of the weather or whatever but most of the time my Head Rooster tells them to go in. He calls them from the top of the chicken ladder and heads in and they follow him in. Several times I've been sitting out there and one young pullet will try and "stay up late" and one of the Roos will come out and get her to come in mostly by bulling or chasing her back in. And it is ONLY the young girls that try this , once they learn the bedtime "rules" they follow suit. it just takes alittle while to learn.

    But yeah at first they don't understand what a coop even is they have no Idea that is their home. So I would just put them in and close up the coop so they can't get back out and in no time they will be heading in on their own.

    Also about who goes in first after the Rooster, there is no order, they all have their usual place on the roost so everyone ends up in the same spot, but to be one of the last on the roost is kind of like a challenge for them and they fuss alittle climbing over each other and pecking the girl next to you so you have room to fit your little butt in your usual spot so I think they all rush in there to try and get up and get their spot first.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

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