They won't go in the coop at night-help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MD Chicken chic, May 2, 2009.

  1. MD Chicken chic

    MD Chicken chic In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    I have 4 pullets (well hopefully), 2 Silkies, a Welsummer, and a Barred Rock that are about 11 weeks old. They have been outside for about 2 weeks now. I have a small coop with 4 nests and 2 sets of roosts, about 3- 3.5 feet tall, 6 feet wide, and 2.5 feet deep. It has a large completely enclosed run attached to it. There is a ramp since it sits up about 1.5 feet. There is food and water inside the coop. We haven't had a chance to put a door on it to shut them in yet.

    My problem is that from the first night they were out, they sleep in a ball all curled up against the pen fence in the corner furthest away from the coop in the grass. I have been crawling into the run (which is about 3 feet high and covered with wire on top) and putting them into the coop every night for the 2 weeks they have been out. Once I put them, if it's dark enough out, they settle down and stay in till morning. But, they won't go in at night by themselves. They start congregating in that corner in the evening and stay there all night, even when it's raining! This is getting old very fast.

    I thought the problem was my ramp, but I went out one day and put grapes on the ramp and up into the coop, and they ate the grapes on the ramp but jumped off the ramp as soon as they got to the top. I saw them out there playing on the ramp, going up and down it, the past few days, but not going inside the coop. So, last night, I put their entire food container in the coop, so that in order to eat they have to go inside. Today, they were going in and out to eat. But, now (about 6 pm), they are settling down in their corner in the grass again.

    Any ideas? Do they not like the coop maybe? It's big enough for 6 chickens, I'd say, and there's only 4. We intend to build a bigger one, but this has to do for now. I'm just frustrated with crawling in there to put them in every night!

  2. tcwk

    tcwk Songster

    Apr 10, 2009
    NW, PA
    I say put a door on your coop and keep them in there for 2 days and 2 nights (long enough for them to realize its a safe place to sleep, eat and drink) and they will figure out it is their home and start going in every night on their own. (hopefully)[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 2, 2009
  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Maybe put a light in there?

    They generally go to the light whenever it gets dark.

    I'm so glad mine took to the coop/ramp thing naturally, because our run is about like you described, it's 28" tall with a wire top [​IMG]
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Would providing treats (e.g. sunflower seeds, fruit) at bedtime work for you, to entice them in? May be easier than crawling around!
  5. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    I always do what tcwk does - leave them inside for a couple of days so they get used to sleeping in there.

  6. emilyweck

    emilyweck Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Eugene, Oregon
    Quote:What she said! It should work just fine.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I agree, lock em up for a few days. Once they realize that the coop is home, you shouldn't have any problems.
  8. MD Chicken chic

    MD Chicken chic In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    Ok, I'll try that. It won't get too stuffy in there? There are a couple small ventilation slits in the sides. I guess I just feel bad leaving them in there so long cause they seem to love scratching and playing around outside.
  9. mjdtexan

    mjdtexan Songster

    Sep 30, 2008
    Did you bring them up in a brooder with a red light? My girls would not go in the coop at night when I first put them in there. I put a normal little red party light in there and they go in every night all by themselves. Good luck.

  10. MD Chicken chic

    MD Chicken chic In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    Yes, they did have a red light while they were inside. I can't put a light out in the coop though cause there's no electricity out there. I'm gonna try to leave them in for a couple of days and see if that does the trick. If not, I have no idea what to do!

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