The unanswerable question...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by redheadedhens, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. redheadedhens

    redheadedhens Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2016
    San Diego, CA
    I have read through multiple posts about chickens not sleeping inside the coop, and I still can't seem to pinpoint why our hens will not sleep inside the coop. They used to sleep inside the coop, then this summer when it was incredibly hot, they started sleeping on the run roost. Now that its cooler, they still prefer to sleep outside. I clean the coop and run every 2 weeks. There are no rodents. No signs of mites on the birds. I tried corralling them into the coop at night for two weeks straight to remind them to roost there, and as soon as I stopped forcing it, they went right back to sleeping outside. I took the ladder away from the outside roost and two or three would sleep inside for a few nights; now all five are back outside.

    The run is secure. I have no concerns about predation. Quite frankly, I just prefer they utilize the coop at night (it will get cool (lows of 35-40) here this winter, but nothing threatening to a hardy chicken. They do go inside the coop during the day. They have food and water both in the run and in the coop. They have plenty of space on the inside roost as well. If it matters, they get let out to free-range for typically an hour a day, in the evening (we have a major hawk issue, so they are now limited to supervised outings only).

    I'm tempted to take the run roost down (they never use it during the day, anyway) and see if they start roosting inside. They are six (ish) months old and have been housed in this run/coop since 6-8 weeks.
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    That's what I would try - remove the outside roost and I'll bet they head inside. I think they are just in the habit of roosting in the run. But they will quickly become habituated to roosting in the coop once they start in there again. Good luck to you! [​IMG]
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Is there at least one foot of roost space per bird, or did they outgrow it?
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Any windows in that coop? What are the dimensions of the coop, including the height, width and length? Open ventilation? What is the diameter and material that the roost is made of? where is it in relation to the walls , floor, and ceiling?
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
  5. kgb6days

    kgb6days Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2016
    I have two girls that spend the night on the outside roost. There is plenty of room inside, but these two girls were additions to the flock. I got them from a friend who didn't have a coop - just a run with a lean to for shelter for her hens. They were used to sleeping in that type situation so I let them. I don't try to force them inside or stress over it. When they get ready to they will go inside. They know it's there - they lay their eggs in the coop where the nests are.

  6. ninsquad

    ninsquad New Egg

    Oct 17, 2016
    Our girls are about a year old and until about 2 weeks ago slept on theor roosts inside the coop safe and sound. Now, they jump on top of the coop and sleep perched on the edge. I have started putting them back in once they are up there.
    Any ideas why this is jappening all of a sudden?
    Their coop is cleaned weekly, they cruise in and out of coop all day to eat and drink and freerange as they wish. They are all laying well. No predators...
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Bobbi-j and LG have asked some very pertinent questions.

    Your coop looks to be of good size

    Posting some updated pics of inside of coop and run area might help us spot the issue.

    I'm betting the roost outside is higher and/or longer than the roost inside....
    ...and/or ventilation/temperature is nicer outside...

    ...and/or they are just being typical 'teen-aged' birds who want to stay out partying all night!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I was also thinking your outdoor roost might be higher than the inside one. Your temps are good so that shouldn't be too much of a concern. When people say their runs are secure, I have to ask what you have buried to protect from potential diggers?

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Chickens are creatures of habit. When dark and they are sleeping, bring them in and put them where they should be. It might take a few nights.
  10. monkton flock

    monkton flock New Egg

    Oct 18, 2016
    Monkton, VT
    I would agree that if it really bothers you that they roost outside, you can put them inside after dark for a few nights. But also, probably you can just let them be. Mine sometimes roost outside the coop, in the run all night, sometimes they go inside. If the run is secure, it shouldn't be a problem. They'll find their nest box when they are ready to lay. Or is that the real problem; that they are laying outside in the run?

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