The Empty Coop

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by susan6sw, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. susan6sw

    susan6sw In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2014
    Brownbranch Missouri
    I've got 6 pullets, a rooster and two young cockerels in a 20 x 20 fenced grassy area on our lot. All these chicks were hatched on my farm (their moms met with unfortunate mysterious disappearances before I got the pen finished.) At about center is a huge cedar tree. The rooster has always roosted in the tree at night - even when it's pretty cold. We have a new coop - holds 20 chickens, but the hens and the cockerels are all roosting in the tree and only go into the coop occasionally to eat the chicken feed in there. This crew is wary but is slowly becoming friendlier (Orpingtons, all). Some evenings the cedar looks like it's decorated for Christmas with chickens in the branches. Any suggestions on how I can get them to go in the henhouse so I can lock the up for the night or keep them cozy when it starts to get cold. Winter in the Ozarks isn't really as cold as some places, but occasionally....
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. You need to confine your chickens to the coop for at least a week. This will imprint on them that the coop is home and that they have no choice but to roost inside the coop. Make sure that the coop is well ventilated and that its interior is not too hot (no more than 70 F at dusk). After a week or so, open the coop door and allow them to go outside if they wish, but do not interfere if they would rather not. In the unlikely event (I've never personally had this happen) that they do not return to the coop at dusk that first night, repeat the process, confining them to the coop for another week. Also, make sure that none of them have laid any eggs outside of the coop anywhere and put some fake eggs in your nests boxes to reinforce the idea that this is where eggs should be laid. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your flock back into the coop.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Even if it doesn't get very cold, roosting in trees is an invitation for night predators. You can try locking them all in the coop for several days, to get the idea in their heads that the COOP is HOME, and that is where they should roost at night. The dang rooster led them astray.

    If they don't roost too high in the trees maybe you can use a flashlight to find them and get a ladder and grab them off and shove them into the coop. Birds don't want to move at night, so it's a good time to get them. BTW [​IMG]
  4. susan6sw

    susan6sw In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2014
    Brownbranch Missouri
    Thanks for the advice. I will catch and coop them tomorrow evening. They're all up there now., but it's 1:30 am and I am pooped. I must admit I do hate aggravating chickens like that, but it's the right thing to do.
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    You're welcome. Good luck in imprinting the coop as home on your flock.
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] So glad you joined us.

    If you cannot move them from trees to coop….consider offering a great treat before dusk….a friend of mine used scratch corn in the evening to get his to come to the coop for lockdown and it worked.
  7. Mister B

    Mister B Songster

    Feb 7, 2013
    NW Alabama
    What about cutting the lowest branches? I don't think Orpingtons can fly very high. Mine doesn't like to fly off her roost (~2 feet). You might get some deer netting and string from the lower branches so they can't get up there. It might be easier than catching them. I did that. They got the idea quick and started going to the coop at night. I stared herding them towards the coop at dusk as well and closed them in. They still ( about a month) congregate under the tree when it gets dark, but they have stopped trying to get into it. Then one heads to the coop adn they all follow.
  8. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Go out long before dark and try to lure them over with food. I mean hours before night fall. Catch each one by hand and get them into the coop. Lock them in and keep them in there for several days to one week. After this amount of time, they will have learned to stay there for roosting.

    Good luck and I hope you can catch them!
  10. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

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