They won't go into the coop at night

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Knittycat, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Knittycat

    Knittycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Bay City, TX
    I posted this in the baby chicks forum, but I think it's a better fit here.

    My chicks have been out in the coop for a couple of weeks now, and have for the past several days been spending the day out in the run. The first day it was a bit of a challenge to get them to come out of the coop and down the ramp, but that was quickly overcome by scrambled eggs. They've had no problems going up and down the ramp during the day. I've kept their food and water in the coop to encourage them to go up the ramp from time to time. They have no problems with it.
    But I can't get them to go back into the coop in the evening. Ever since I let them into the run I've had to go out there at dark and chase them down and put them into their coop. Otherwise they'd huddle in the corner of the run under the coop. I've tried putting treats into the coop at night to get them to come in, but all it's done so far is pacify them once I've grabbed them and put them bodily into the coop. I'm not comfortable leaving them out of the coop overnight. The run is just fenced in with chicken wire. The coop is much more secure.
    How do I get them to go back into the coop at night by themselves?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    When you first moved them to the coop did you lock them in it for a few days, maybe even a week, before allowing them access to the run?
    Sounds cruel, but necessary to train their little brains that a coop is the best place to sleep at night.

    Rereading your post, I would suggest a light in the coop at bedtime. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a flashlight with good batteries turned on for the time it takes for them to wander in.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  3. Knittycat

    Knittycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Bay City, TX
    Yeah, they were locked in for a week. And then for another two days after the first time I let them out. I'll have to give the flashlight route a try. I think I may have one of those 'tap lights' still out in the camper...
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Is it possible that it's too dark inside the coop? Chickens don't like to go inside where they can't see.
  5. Newbie in Screamer Al

    Newbie in Screamer Al Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2011
    They will not go into something where they cannot see whats in there. I had the same problem, and I keep a night light in the coop on at all times. They go right in now.
  6. KristyAz

    KristyAz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2011
    Mishawaka, Indiana
    I am having exactly the same problem. What a workout every evening to catch them to put them to bed. I had mine in the brooder at night for about a week, but now they are completely out of the brooder. I think they know where to sleep, but they don't go in themselves. I was just hoping that eventually they would "get it" and in the meantime I get my cardio workout.
  7. Knittycat

    Knittycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Bay City, TX
    I had the light in the coop tonight and I still had to catch them to put them in after it got dark. They struggled less this time though. I guess that's a bit of an improvement.
  8. Knittycat

    Knittycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Bay City, TX
    Day three of tossing the chickens into the coop at night. Second day with a light, and I waited well past full dark this time. Am I going to have to do this forever???
  9. someplumbcoop

    someplumbcoop Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2010
    North Carolina
    We are having the same problem. They are full grown, however, and have been happily going in at night for almost 5 months. Now, they sleep with the roo up on top of it huddled in a corner (like they used to do inside but just on top now). What's up with this? It doesn't seem to be a light problem, as it is the same, maybe lighter, than 3 months ago. We checked for snakes, etc and nothing is in there. Any more ideas? Should we be worried? They are all in the area that is as secure as it was inside the coop, so it is not a safety issue at this time.
  10. AmyRey

    AmyRey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2009
    When mine stopped going to the coop to sleep, I soon learned that it was because a snake was stealing eggs. The girls were telling me something was up - but I wasn't listening.

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