Topic of the week - Coop training the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    Pic by @swamperkk

    We spend a lot of money and effort on nice, cozy, comfortable and above all safe coops for our flocks, but inevitably we'll have the odd one or few that prefers roosting outside in a tree instead of returning to the coop at night. Or the sneaky hens that lays her eggs under a bush somewhere, instead of in the nest boxes provided! This week I would like to hear you all's tips and tricks for training the flock to make use of the facilities provided. Specifically:

    - How you do train your flock to return to the coop at night?
    - How do you get your hens to use the nest boxes?

    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here:
  2. Rachealx4

    Rachealx4 Songster

    Mar 11, 2018
    East Central Missouri
    Newbie here. Thanks for posting this topic. I can't wait to see the responses!
  3. feedman77

    feedman77 Crowing

    Jun 10, 2013
    When I get new birds. I usually confine them to the coop and run that I want them to use for about 10 days.

    After that I let them out during the late afternoon for some ranging. I watch to make sure all of them go back in where they are supposed to be at dark. I do this for about a week if all goes well. Then they get longer free time.

    Generally if they are laying the only nest boxes they will have access to during they confinement time frame will be those in the coop.

    With a few exceptions most return lay and roost where I want them too.
  4. Feedman77 is doing it right! must keep them in in the morning, after they have laid their eggs. Then they can go play
    khind, ChickNanny13 and Rachealx4 like this.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    As for returning to the coop to sleep, this has never been a problem for me. I have never locked them in the coop for days. However, I have locked them in the coop/run for a couple of days.

    As for laying in the right place, a golf ball, or a small round rock will most of the time get them to lay where I want them too, but chickens can be notional. If all of a sudden, I get a big reduction in egg production, it has always been because they have decided to have a secret nest, and several hens will use it. Sometimes it can be hidden in nearly plain sight, and yet not seen.

    When I get a couple eggless or nearly eggless days, I take a cup of coffee down and sit quietly... till I hear the egg song. Sometimes I will just collect from that spot, or sometimes I destroy whatever they like about it, as in the cover. It is not a big deal.

    Mrs K
  6. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

    Jul 10, 2015
    I think privacy is one of the main keys to getting them to lay in their nest boxes. They need to be dark and hidden.

    Also, since I let my ducks out early in the morning, they haven't always laid their eggs by then, so I scatter boxes around their yard as well. It seems to work better to have boxes scattered here and there, rather than a neat row of them.

    And they pay more attention to new nesting locations, so sometimes I even move the boxes. Recently I moved one under a cluster of thorny bushes, and put a cinder block in front of it to make it even more private. Almost immediately, about five ducks decided they wanted to lay in it. A few weeks later, no one cared anymore. So I moved it again. And they laid in it again.
  7. Foster's Freehold

    Foster's Freehold Songster

    Jun 7, 2013
    South Central KY
    I don't have to train mine to go in the coop. And while I don't like where they lay, I haven't done anything about moving it yet. What I am having trouble with is teaching my BLRW to roost on the poles lol.

    They were raised in brooder boxes with roosts, so the 5 juvies all sleep in a pile in the floor. Ugh. Now I have brought in 3 mature GCMs and they have taken the top roost, which is ok. I'm going to have to make a concentrated effort to teach them to roost, else if I go out in the dark, I'm liable to step on a wad of birds.
  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    I bribed my girls with treats when I was first training them to return to the coop.

    I used a can with seeds in it. They learned/now know, what the sound of the can shaking means.
  9. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

    Jul 10, 2015
    It didn't work for me, with my ducks. They quickly learned it was a bribe and would just stare at me like, "Really? I'm not falling for that." So I had to get a stick out and herd them inside.
    khind, sylviethecochin and KikisGirls like this.
  10. I have done that before too, but I had Earl Gray tea instead of coffee.
    But i did find their stash!
    khind and Rubysword like this.

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