The chickens always come home to roost in their coops at night....NO..

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crazy huhn, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    The chickens always come home to roost in their coops at night.........well, I have two who never do!

    We converted an old but cute dog house plus a big dog crate to a new chicken coop for my 2 Polish cross chickens. They were in their with their mom since week one they were born.
    Mom moved herself back into the main coop after about 7 weeks, so the little ones stayed in there. I want them to free range, too, as all my other chickens do, but every night they try to fly up on some shelves on my patio or they try to fly high into some nearby trees. Each and every day it is the same, I have to pick them up and put them into their coop with attached run myself. So I thought by not letting them out at all for a week or longer, they would go back into it at night, but they do not.
    The newest thing actually is that they do not even sleep in the coop anymore at night, but in the attached covered dog run. Safe, but I would like to see them in the coop for more protection and I am tired of picking them up each and every night to put them back into the coop/run.

    Any advice?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    We can only tell you what we would do. You already took the usual approach, lock them up for a week or so, and it did not work. So I would leave them be. I'm just not going to fight an animal that hard, not when he is not harming anyone else.
  3. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    Well, I am not fighting them hard, but there is no question about it, that I do not want them on my patio free range 24/7 (I love my animals, but do not want their droppings everywhere.....) . I want them safe and secure in their coop or run. So if they keep doing that, it will be 24/7 in their (big enough) coop/run. Adieu free-range.......... or only at very rare occasion.....
  4. WhetzelMomma

    WhetzelMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2009
    Do you think they feel too crowded? Or maybe that your house isn't high enough up off the ground? Just a couple ideas...
  5. fl_deb

    fl_deb Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    not to be contary here...but think like a chicken. Chickens like fresh air, a safe place to roost, and consistancy! [​IMG]

    Get in coop and keep your head where their head would be for 20 minutes or so....if it is hot, stuffy air then fix it! Likewise, if there is no wind break, then fix that.

    They will not go into a building that they can not see around in...They don't want to meet the bogeyman inside the coop. Add a solar light or other nite lite, so as they come into the coop they are entering an area they can see into all the corners etc.

    Keep everything in and around the coop the same! Don't allow tools to lean against coop unless you always leave it there. Think about how it felt to see the monsters in the closet when you left the closet door open as a child. Same thing here...the birds can decide that that stool sitting there looks alot like the coon they saw last week, once the lights go out! This goes for the suppies used for the birds too. Pay special attention to any thing that can move due to breezes or as a reaction to a pest or predator knocking into it, as these are quickly associated with very scary things.

    Now if you have done all these things and then locked them in for a week or two and they still want somewhere else....look to see what their preferred place offerrs or doesn't and make more changes to the coop.

    Finally, if you do all of this and they still don't go to roost in the coop then I would make their perferred placed as predator proof as the coop. Or just let them be......[​IMG]
  6. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have had the same problem with young birds who have recently separated from mom... with mom their status was linked to her... now they need to find their own place in the flock... "Those big old birds are picking on me, mom... MOM?"... but mom's off doing her own thing. Keep putting them where you want them to be at night. They will eventually find their spot in the flock and in the coop... give them some time.
  7. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    Thank You all for helping me figure out a solution for my problem.

    WhetzelMomma: No, they are definitely not too crowded. We have build this coop for just those two Polish Crosses (originally plus their Momma, but she is back in her old coop now) and is big enough for more than just 2 LF chickens plus it has a nice big dog kennel as a run. It might not be enough of the ground is of the ground, but a chicken could not hide under the coop. It is almost impossible to do that without sacrificing the entire dog kennel run.

    fl_deb : We are in SoCal, so the coop is a cute nice old dog house converted to a coop, front door open to the run 24/7. The dog kennel is attached, so no predators or bogey men can get in there, at least I hope so. There is no stuffy air in there because of that nor do they need to be protected from the wind much more than they already are (in fact as I already stated, if I catch them and put them back in there, they even like to roost in the covered dog kennel run).

    mmaddie's mom : ....I guess, that is what I have to keep doing or just leave them in the coop/run combo and forget about free ranging those two girls. They are almost 19 weeks old now and should have figured it out, but maybe they are some not so smart ones..................
  8. TnTom

    TnTom Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 27, 2010
    Woodbury Tn
    Start with them closed in the coop. It must have roost. Close them in till morning. Raise the door and let them access the run only. There shouldn't be anything taller than the roost inside the coop out in the run.

    When they want to roost on top of the coop let them . When they go to sleep pick them up and pop them into the coop and close the door until daylight.

    In the morning let them out again into the run again. Repeat until they go to roost in the coop at dark. Should take at the most 3 days I've found.

    When it becomes so they go into the coop at dark with out help they can go to a short range 1 hour before dark, not dusk.

    Stay with them and block the range to about 30' from the coop, or there abouts, just your presence will keep them near the run. It they are going regulalrly from the run to the coop and sleep without anything unusual going on they will go to the run then to the coop. I have my coop in line with the gate in the run so its very easy for them to get to the place they know to sleep. Close the coopdoor once they are in and the run gate.

    I weaned mine down over 15 days ranging 30minutes for a few days then an hour or so increasing the length of time watching them closely until now I let them out all day ad just check on them throughout the day. It gives you a chance to let them set up their routine. Creatures of habit. No surprises. Surprises are met with great uncertainty.
    They like to alternate nesting and egg laying but they do like to come in from the range go to the barrel and lay their egg sometime they like the box in the coop itself. But they will become very comfortable coming to the coop then lay the eggs then go back out and range. Sometimes my rooster will take one hen or the other to the coop and she she goes in to lay. I like to try to make the inside of the run similar in feeling to the outside. Its safe for them but mine hate it if they have to spend the day in the run. They will set up a routine and become very predictable. With chickens always expect the unexpected.
    Like Richard Back said in Illusions " none of this may be true""
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  9. crazy huhn

    crazy huhn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2008
    Thank You, TN Tom, especially also for your posted photos of your set-up.

    it looks that your coop is about the size of the one I have for my two Polish Crosses and your set-up is similar to mine, except my run is smaller. I do not have any roosts in the coop, so I will put some in there for sure. To add some kind of door should be possible too. Of course, if my younger ones free range, they will be with the older birds of the other two coops and they usually fly over the fence into my veggie garden. That is OK, but I just want them to go back at night. I even open up the fence for them, so they could find their way back. But even if I let them out late, stupid girls tried to fly the fence or in a nearby Bougainvillea to roost for the night. But maybe you are right here: they do want to roost, so a roost will go into the coop ASAP.

    By the way, I do love your barrel nest box. Where did you get it? You do have a really nice set-up!!!
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Have you checked the coop to assure that it is not infested with mites?

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