Spoiled? Un-smart? WHAT?!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BattleChickens, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. WHY don’t they go into their coop at night? We have 22 chickens we let free-range in the back yard all day. The 10 meaties are rather agreeable and go into their tractor every night. My hens, on the other hand, are night owls and prefer to wander around the yard endlessly. Every night we either have play “Chicken Round Up” (which is quickly becoming my LEAST favorite game) or wait for all of the chickens to roost on the back of our porch bench so that we can scoop them up and take them to the coop for the night. We’re first time chicken farmers and we’ve been going through this hoopla since we put our chooks outside about 3 weeks ago. They’re all still pretty young (most are 7 weeks, some older), so I’m wondering if they’ll ever figure this out . . . Have we already spoiled them? Do we need a new roost in the coop? Do they not like their coop? Does it have something to do with the fact that it stays light almost ALL night? Are they just stubborn? Are we doing something wrong?

    I don’t get it!!!

    Any help anyone with more experience could offer would be so very appreciated!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    How big is the coop? What is the roost made of? How well ventilated is it? You hae, what, 6 hens, 22 youngsters, and 10 meaties? Where is the food and water? Do you ever give them treats?
     
  3. CAranchgirl

    CAranchgirl In the Brooder

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    I'm not entirely sure, but I think if it stays light almost all night that would definitely throw them off and keep them up. I usually have problems with chicks learning to roost when they have been in another pen for longer than 4 weeks...the only way I taught them was to grab them at night and keep putting them in the coop until they get the hang of it! You could also try giving them some kind of treat inside their coop and seeing if that herds them in...then you don't have to play "chicken round up" [​IMG]. Also, maybe you can describe the coop/roosts and someone will know if there is something going on that the chickens don't like! good luck
     
  4. My grandmother used scratch feed for tucking the girls in at night.
    In the summer, every evening after dinner, she let the hens out for an hour or so. When their time was up, she simply picked up the bucket of scratch and headed for the chicken yard. They followed her, some of them even ran ahead to wait for her and the scratch feed.

    Worked like a charm !
     
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

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    I used bread as a treat. It worked. Good luck. Gloria Jean
     
  6. consdrs

    consdrs Songster

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    sounds like hanging out in the coop for a week will help with that, perhaps they need to know where "bed" is. my hens would follow me over a cliff if I had treats...

    Connie
     
  7. How big is the coop? What is the roost made of? How well ventilated is it? You hae, what, 6 hens, 22 youngsters, and 10 meaties? Where is the food and water? Do you ever give them treats?

    The coop (which is in the early stages of shed to coop conversion) is roughly 8’ by 5’. The portion sectioned-off for the gals is 5’ by 5’. Our roost, which is in desperate need of upgrade, is a 2x4 between two other 2x4’s and is probably 3’ long. Ventilation is pretty good, since we leave the coop open all day and there are vents running along the entire top under the eaves. We have 12 older hens and 5 chicks (3-4wks) homed in there. Their food and water is up on a low crate in the coop. They get all sorts of treats throughout the day. I tried to lure them in with scratch a few times and a couple of them will follow me . . . They LOVE scrambled egg, though, so maybe I should just make them an egg or two every night? That sure would be easier than chasing those buggers around the yard at 11 every night! I was possibly over-thinking the whole thing . . . since it seems it may be as simple as having the DBF install a new roost or two and cooking the gals an egg before bed!

    Quote:Hmmm . . . I like this idea, too!

    Thanks all - wish me luck!​
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  8. lovinlife

    lovinlife Songster

    Quote:Yep, i agree with keeping them cooped up for a while. 7 weeks is a bit young. When they're older they'll want to go "home" at night and if you make the coop home, they'll go there automatically at sundown. Mine go in at sundown, doesn't matter what time of year. Winter it's 5:30, summer it's 9:00. If it's light there almost all night, I wouldn't expect them to go in before dusk.

    Also, I don't let mine out until around 3:00 in the afternoon, after they've had time to lay their eggs. They free range after they're done laying and then go right back in at dusk. I tried letting them out in the morning since it's summer, but they quit laying when I did that (or they found somewhere else to lay their eggs and I can't find them). So, it's back to free ranging between 3-9pm.

    And if mine ever get to the point where they "abuse" the free ranging priveledge, they get to stay in the coop for a few days. My coop is actually a run with nesting boxes in one corner sheltered by a tarp. It's Texas and they're fine in that all year round.

    Sorry for the long story...
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Crowing

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    Rules of thumb here:

    4 sq ft per bird in the coop, 10 in the run
    8" to 10" of roost space per bird

    I'm guessing you are in Alaska or northern Canada from the daylight, where chickens often stay indoors for long periods in the cold months. Sounds to me like you have some re-thinking to do.
     
  10. consdrs

    consdrs Songster

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    Quote:I think I am very confused on size and age and number of chickens housed in the 5x5 coop. 22? or 12 hens (chicken over the age of 1 year) and some 3-4 week old chicks and 10 meaties in a separate tractor. I agree on the re-thinking. perhaps leave it the 8x5.
    I don't cook that many eggs for my husband! def won't do it for stubborn chickens... Get a scratch bucket that makes noise. give it a shake and give them a treat in their coop. before you know it all you have to do is reach for the treat bucket and they come runnin. Pigs with feathers...

    Connie
     

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