Staying out late?

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
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Our chickens are 9 week old and have been free ranging for a week now and loving it. So far, I have had to gather them up and put them in their coop every night but the second night. I keep hearing people's chickens put themselves to bed just at dusk....mine are still out roaming at 8:45pm and I have to either lure the willing ones in with mealworms, and actually catch and carry the other stragglers. I'm afraid to wait until it is dark to see how long they will stay out....I don't want it so dark that I can't see them. Will they figure this out eventually??
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Grateful
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
45,527
79,405
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Wisconsin
Mine always do the same too. They all eventually go in by themselves but it can take a bit, they are like naughty children who stay out too late, than are afraid of the dark of the coop. Under natural conditions the mom hen would put them to bed at dusk, you have to play that role for a while. Most are self sufficient by 3-4 months of age.
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
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Ok thanks. I will keep putting them away then, it only takes 5 min or so anyway. I will also try leaving the light on in the coop to entice them.
 

lutherpug

Crowing
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
602
639
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Kansas City Area
If there is any way you can put a light in your coop for a few weeks it will almost certainly solve your problem. They will be drawn towards it at dusk and will go into the coop. You can turn it off once they're all tucked in for the night. After a week or two you can remove the light. Hope this helps. It has always worked for me.
 

NeonMoonlight

In the Brooder
Dec 12, 2016
9
2
17
I agree with everyone here, I had to put ours to bed for about a week until they figured it out. My Husband and I were out last night and our daughters let our 3 month olds out to free range after 7pm to show Grandma and Grandpa, which made me a bit afraid when I found this out at 9:30pm and it was dark! But when I went to the coop, they were all in there squawking and getting settled in just fine! I felt like I had accomplished something, they had put themselves to bed!
I also strung up some Christmas lights on the outside of the coop shining in through one of the windows to give them some light to make them comfortable. If the lights are inside, just make sure they can't peck at them or get to them easily.
Good luck!
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
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They were in the coop for a week and a half before they were let out at all
Our coop is part of our shed and our shed has power....so there is an over head light in there and a light on the outside as well.
 

Cindy in PA

Crowing
12 Years
Jul 8, 2008
2,759
1,102
401
Fleetwood, PA
My chicks are 10 weeks out & went out a 6 1/2 weeks. They were locked in the coop for 3 days & since the first day they were left out, they have gone in by themselves. Usually they went in around 8 with their auto door closing by sunset, now 8:30. They have been the easiest chicks I have had in 24 years. What you all describe is more the norm. Friday night I went out & found 5 had missed the door closing & last night a Partridge Rock was again out in the run frantically trying to get in! I think they just enjoyed the nice weather that we finally had. Guess I will set the closing for 10 minutes after sunset & maybe set the second opening feature. Your chicks will learn in time!
 

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