We finished our coop this week. 6x6, beautiful! The chickens prefer to roost on the wisteria vine that winds through their run. Should I force them into the coop at night or will the figure it out? None of them are laying yet!
A lot of people say you should lock them in the coop for a couple days and make them roost in there instead of leaving them to free range. Once they learn that is home they will go in automatically at dusk. However if there is no danger to them on the vine so long as climate permits there is not a whole lot wrong with that either. If you really want them inside wait until dark when they are roosting and pick them up and move them to the proper spot. Good Luck!
My advice is to pick them up and put them in the coop. No matter how secure you think their run is , you may end up with a nasty surprise.
Mine aren't crazy about going in their house when it's nice out. I sometimes still have to snap my fingers at them when they are trying to roost outside. That is the signal for them to go in. After much dirty chicken looks, elevated clucking, and other sounds of protest, they go in.
I had the exact same problem and it was driving me crazy with worry. I was afraid something would break into the enlosure while they slept on the outdoor roosts. My DH had gone to a lot of trouble to get the coop in shape too and I think it hurt his feelings. Well, I think I've solved the problem. I think the chickens were afraid of the coop because it was dark and unfamiliar, so I went to Loew's and bought a small hanging work light (low heat, cool-burning type, yellow plastic housing, looks like a hanging flashlight) and turned it on in the coop as it got dark outside. This seemed to do the trick and now they all have just learned to go in and get on the roosts when the light comes on. (Even the rooster, who was the last hold out having been a stray "tree-rooster".) After they are all tucked in, I turn the light out. This weekend I'm getting a timer. Now they put themselves to bed at dusk. Both me and the chick-chicks are very happy with the new arrangment.
I may have to try this. My Buckeye chickens all huddle, on the ground, in a corner of the run. I get off work at 1am.. come home and have to put them in the coop. Under a lot of protest i might add. Hope they get use to the new coop soon....
I use to put the girls in at night, lock them in, let them out in the morning. The last 3 to go in, it took them about 5 days to follow the other girls in. the first flock to go in it only took about 3 days doing the same thing