why won't my chickens go I to the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dawnk6877, May 2, 2016.

  1. dawnk6877

    dawnk6877 New Egg

    Mar 14, 2016
    Hello! I am very new to raising chickens. My chickens are now 3 months old and they have been on their coop area for a little over 3 weeks now.we've raised them from babies! I've ready tirelessly trying to find a solution to why they are not going in to roost at night. I've tried putting a light in the coop just before dark. I've tried locking them in for a week and then again for 3 days when that didn't work. I've checked their roost to make sure they have enough room. Their food and water is currently in the coop. I've watched them prance right into their coop during the day to eat and drink. so I know the ladder is not the issue it did take them some time to figure the ladder out. But every single night I have to go out and put them in at night they huddle on top of eachother in a corner of their run I've been putting them in every night for 2 weeks. My husband insists on leaving them and letting them figure it out. But I'm afraid of breaking a cycle to have them learn. What do I do? Do I let them figure it out and sleep outside? When will they learn? I've also tried getting them in the coop at night with their favorite treat but they just come right back out thanks in advance for your help
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    That's pretty typical behavior for chickens that age unfortunately. I have always had to round mine up for a few months. They start to go in by themselves as they reach sexual maturity. Some say lights will help or treats. To me it's similar to kids wanting to stay out late at night. I always keep rounding mine up, I'm the mom and it's part of my job to put them to bed. Hen raised chicks are put to bed by the mom hen.
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    If they possess the physical ability, your chickens would probably prefer to roost in the tall timber. Now a days few Back Yard Chickens can make it 40 feet up into a yellow popular tree. When raised by their Ma-Ma there is little issue about where they sleep. Chicks sleep huddled and piled up on each other but grown birds don't, preferring to roost on limbs and polls. Your birds will come around in time.
  4. dawnk6877

    dawnk6877 New Egg

    Mar 14, 2016
    This is great to hear that it may take a few months. From what I've read people were saying a few weeks they would get it. I don't mind doing it I was getting frustrated. I thought I was doing something wrong! I will continue to put them to bed until they get the hang of it. Do you recommend leaving the food and water in the coop? Our original plan was to have it outside the coop. I thought it would help get them in at night. But if it's not recommended and not part of our plan I'll move ot out thank you so much
  5. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    Food and water in the coop is fine as long as you have the room.Young birds like to stay out late. My older birds will start to roost up as much as an hour before dark but the kids wait till the last minute. Have you tried just watching them to see if they will go in just later? I have 1 slw that is a year old and still waits till the last minute to go in. I don't know why but chickens like to do things on their own schedule not yours, but don't worry they will get it sooner or later. Try just leaving them out one night to see what they do, and even if they don't go in their easier to catch in the dark as they huddle up and not move so you can just walk up and pick them up.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Where the food and water go is up to the person managing the flock. By using a ladder I deduce you've a small coop. With small coops there is limited space, Your state or region isn't mentioned but if your like me and have winters any added moisture due to heated water or water spills is unwanted in small coops. The key to freezing temps is good ventilation to keep the coop dry. These things said, my management is to keep the feed and water under the raised coop. Chickens are let outside every day of the year.

    It's really odd to me they don't coop themselves by now. With new flocks it usually only takes me a week of putting them in at night before they get it. Do you have bedding in the coop? Pine shavings are comfortable and make for a good liter. Chickens prefer to be outside for sure but a good bed of pine shavings to nestle down on at night is inviting. They may be too young to be roosting yet. That comes with age.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    More info might help.
    Pic of coop(inside and out) and dimensions(feet by feet)?
    How many birds?
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Your problem sounds familiar. I have three coops, two on the ground and one elevated. I never have this problem with the coops on the ground (well one exception, there are always exceptions) but I always have this with my elevated coop. So far no exceptions to that. I think that is related to roosting as Egghead mentioned.

    My brooder-raised chicks normally start to roost around 10 to 12 weeks as long as no adults are present. I have had some start about 5 weeks, my current brood started at 9 weeks, and some go longer, but 10 to 12 weeks is pretty normal. Until they start to roost I think they look for a safe place as low as they can get to spend the night. I normally lock mine in the elevated grow-out coop for about a week when they are 5 weeks old then let them into their run at six weeks. They always put themselves to bed under my pop door the first night. That’s one of the very few things I’ve seen about my chickens that is consistent.

    I go down there every night after dark and put them in the coop. I do not consider my run truly predator-proof so I want them locked up at night. Normally they all start putting themselves to bed in the coop by a week of doing this. Last summer I had a group that took over three weeks before they all started going in. Usually a few start but some really resist until the bitter end. After they start going in on their own they sleep in a corner until they start to roost.

    Some groups are a lot easier than others. A few years back I had a bunch that did exactly that, all 16 put themselves to bed under the pop door the first night so I tossed them in the coop. The next night I went down there just before dark to do something else and they were all in the pile under that door. But when they saw me coming one got up and went into the coop. The rest followed. After that they all put themselves to bed in the coop whether I was around or not. Sometimes chick TV beats anything on cable, satellite, or antenna. Of course I’ve tried to time that again with later batches but it’s never worked again.

    So just be consistent in locking them in the coop at night. They will eventually catch on. When? I don’t know but probably soon.

    You mention that they will go into the coop to get a treat. Can you lock the door after they are in even if it is not yet bedtime? Just go down after supper, lure them in, and lock the door. They will be OK since you have food and water inside.

    My one exception to the coops on the ground came from a broody-raised brood. She had taken them to the roosts and protected them, but when she weaned them the other adults started picking on them. So they left the roosts and started roosting out of the coop on a storage shelf. That was before I built a juvenile roost in the main coop to give them a safe place to go to get away from the adults. You don’t have that problem.
  9. dawnk6877

    dawnk6877 New Egg

    Mar 14, 2016
    So I work graveyards and so I round the little beauties up before I head off to work it's usually right before dark. But on the weekends my husband and I are sometimes out until midnight or later and the girls have all still been huddled up in their corner. I live in Utah so since they have been in their coop it's been a tad cold out at night. They have lots of pine bedding on the floor of their coop. We have 10 chickens I am not sure the demensions of the coop but it is rather large enough for them to be able to be away from eachother. When I try and gather them up before dark they are not happy and they try to escape before I can gather them all up. Almost as of saying I am not done playing! It is way easier gathering them and putting them to bed in the dark. I do lock their door when they get put to bed at night and then I reopen at 7 am. Thank you all for your kind help! I now know all chickens do not behave the same and I shall let them decide when they are ready. Until Then I Will Continue To Put them To bed.
  10. kaileenfoster

    kaileenfoster Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 18, 2016
    I'm having this same issue only with 2 year old hens! I bought a coop from TSC and got 4 established hens from a lady on CL and they go into the coop and huddle in top of each other and sleep in the nesting boxes! They have been doing this for two weeks! I've tried moving them on the perces with no success. The coop I got is precision pet farm, and it has these perces that are right on top of this tray that slides out for easy cleaning.. I figured they just aren't used to it but it's driving me mad! And they have only given me one egg in the past week.. And it was poopy because they are sleeping the the best boxes! I'm at a loss of what to do!!

    But with chicks they will get the hang of it, I would t stress about it.. I would just cut off any nest boxes you have until they are ready to ly because obviously it ca. Because a really horrible and frustrating habit!

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