What time is bed time?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by myminicooper, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. myminicooper

    myminicooper In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2010
    San Fernando Valley
    I'm new to BYC forum (long time reader first time poster), and new to chickens. I just got my 6 girls a little over a week ago, and my question is....what time is bed time? Sunset for me is about 8pm, and I'm wondering how long I should wait to see if they will find their way into the coop by themselves before I try and put them in? I've been trying to see if they will go to bed themselves but I'm not sure if I've been waiting too long or if I need to give them more time. I usually try and close them in when they are all in between 7:30 and 8:00pm, but every time I walk over to close them up for the night one or two sees me coming and comes out hoping for treats, so I have to gently shove them back in.

  2. ZooMummzy

    ZooMummzy Queen of the Zoo

    Mar 31, 2008
    Philomath, Oregon
    My experience has been for at least a week I need to help them find their way into the coop. Some are fast learners, others seem to take longer. I had one group of girls that took over a month to figure it out! [​IMG] As summer progresses (we stay light here in the NW until almost 10pm in the middle of summer), the bedtime has been creeping later. Now it's almost 9:00pm, though I do start turning off the light in the coop, shutting the pop doors, collecting eggs about 8:30 just to ensure I can lock up at dark. My run is completely secure in our backyard so I don't worry too much, but I never leave them out past dark.
  3. Ms.FuzzyButts

    Ms.FuzzyButts Songster

    Sep 5, 2009
    North Alabama
    Well, if you have only had them a week, that could be the problem. Once they have lived there for a couple of weeks and get to know where "home" is, then they will be in the coop just a tad before dark. Or atleast that's how it works at my coop. But don't worry, mine run out looking for a bedtime snack too when they see me coming.
    Edited to add: [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Bedtime varies by time of sundown and dusk. Right now, the chickens all put themselves away, but the older ones go to roost earlier. (Ain't that always the way?) The "teens" stay out longer, but as the light dwindles, they get themselves into their coop and jostle each other and bicker about who gets to perch where, and get your wing out of my side, etc. The littlest ones I JUST put out in their own integration/segregation coop and smallish pen, well, they get all the way to the opening of the hutch and huddle together there. They'll go in, squawking, with a gentle push.

    They're all tucked away about 8:35, right about now. At least that's what time it was last night!
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Mine head in at dusk. They learned to go inside on their own - I turned a light on in the coop about an hour before dark, and they naturally went inside toward the safety of the light as it darkened outside. Then when I went to do my nightly check/headcount, I'd just turn the light out and shut the pop door (now I have an auto door).

    But if you adopted older chicks or young hens, you may need keep them inside the coop for a few days so that they KNOW that this is their home now...or try the light thing and see if it works. You can hang a flashlight out there if you don't have electricity run. Good luck! It'll all work out either way.
  6. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    I have 3 groups... my "bigs" "middles" and "littles". The bigs get on top of the wire kennel still out in the yard to go to bed (until I come home from work at 1am and put them inside), the middles go to roost in the house, and I still have the littles locked in another half of the house but instead of roosting the huddle at the door until I set them on the perch.
  7. kenturb

    kenturb Hatching

    May 18, 2010
    My 6 girls bed time varies each night (well, the time I close their door up varies a bit each night!)....but after a couple weeks they were all lined up on their roosts at sunset each night. I did have to push them out of the nesting boxes a couple times, but now they got that hint too.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Currently with the time change, my flock stays out till about 8:30, sometimes 1/4 of 9. Last night we were sitting outside enjoying the evening when the coyotes started howling early - around 8:15. I went out and checked and the chickens had put themselves to bed early. [​IMG]
  9. myminicooper

    myminicooper In the Brooder

    Apr 25, 2010
    San Fernando Valley
    Thanks for all the answers!! I felt bad leaving them cooped up in the coop for a week straight so they have the coop and a run to spend their day in and they are locked up at night, but midway through the week I started leaving their food and water inside since they would just go where i put them. Now they will freely move between the coop and run, except more towards bedtime when they sneak out to greet me for snacks, but that seems to be more normal. I just wanted to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong, thanks!!

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