Teaching them to go into their coop at night

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hollywoodwigs, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Hollywoodwigs

    Hollywoodwigs Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2010
    We have 4 Columbian Wyandottes that are 11 weeks old now, they have been in our elevated coop for several weeks. This weekend, we decided to let them "free range" in the backyard for the first time. We put up their "ladder" and they made attempts to come down it (but mostly just flew down). All the chicken books say that they will automatically return to the coop at sundown, but ours didn't. We had to chase after them and finally lift them back in the coop. We let them out twice over the weekend and had to put them back in both times. Do they need to be shown/trained on how to use their ladder to get back in? They mostly want to hide under the coop instead of going back in. The ladder ends up at about a 45 degree angle...doesn't seem like that would be too steep but maybe it is?
  2. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    You can see my coop on my BYC page - it's elevated as well and I like it that way. When I was training my girls to go in, I placed a 40 watt light inside the coop and they seemed to naturally gravitate towards the light. See if this helps yours!

  3. churchx3

    churchx3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2010
    Could your ladder be too steep for them...you indicated they flew out but did not go back in at dusk...also it may take a couple 2-3 times for them to go back in on their own but they will.
  4. Hollywoodwigs

    Hollywoodwigs Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2010
    Thanks, Valentinebaby...we do have a 100watt red light that stays on all the time in the coop, since it is so cold and rainy lately, we feel they still need it. So yes, there is a light on in there....

    Perhaps they will go back on their own if we give it enough time. I read another post that said their flock goes to sleep at 8:00 or 9:00...we didn't wait that long to see what they would do. I think we felt they would just sleep under the coop, and we didn't want that to happen! Well, trial and error I guess.
  5. denasfarm

    denasfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    Sweet Home Alabama!!
    From our experience it takes a while for chicks to get the hang of it. When ever we have new chicks out we expect to put them up for a couple of weeks. Once one gets the hang of it the others will eventually follow. Takes time...
  6. sadies0111

    sadies0111 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 18, 2010
    I had the same problem with mine when I first started letting them out. After maybe 5 times of having to chase them back in to the coop...they started going in on their own. I would let them out about 2 hours before dark to let them free-range for just a short time. I then turned a light on in the coop, and they all made it safely back in. It just takes a little time for them to learn to go back in.
  7. mamaguigan

    mamaguigan Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 1, 2011
    My chickens go in and out of the coop all the time, and even though we have snow on the ground, and the temps are COLD!! at night, sometimes we still have to put them in the coop for bedtime! If it's really cold, or a storm is coming we have to shut them in. Last night, at 11pm I looked out the window and all 4 of them were snuggled in a fresh bale of hay next to the coop. I had to go out and put them in and shut the door!! Weird chickens!! My 12 year old came in the other night, and she was sweating. She said she was putting them in one door, and they would come right down the ramp!! I asked her why she didn't just shut the door so they couldn't come back out, and I got the classic eye roll!! ahahahaaha!![​IMG]
  8. my3jsons

    my3jsons Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2010
    We also have ramps at 45 degrees. At first we would chase ours every night and catch them to put them in. Then one night we forgot and ran out there. They were all in. We just thought they didn't know how to do it. I would wait a little later every night that you have to help them. They will get it.

    Valentinebaby, your pic of your golden with the chickens on your BYC page is too cute! I have one that looks very similiar on my page.
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    My birds were a little confused about how to find their way back in to the coop, but I had good luck getting them addicted to Black Oil Sunflower Seed and then ostentatiously shaking the seed into the coop.
  10. Hollywoodwigs

    Hollywoodwigs Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2010
    Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts! Tonight, 2 of the 4 went into the coop on their own. I moved the "ladder" out a little more so it wasn't at such a steep angle. It took them a while, but 1 went right up the ladder and jumped into the coop. Then the 2nd one sort of just flew in. The other 2 just couldn't seem to do the same, and they started to lay down on the ground by the coop. By then it was quite dark so I just went over and picked them up and sort of showed them how they could go up the ladder! The darkness certainly helps with catching them.

    So, I guess they have figured it out now and soon the other 2 should know what to do!

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