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Will my chickens get used to their new coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by juliamiles, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. juliamiles

    juliamiles Just Hatched

    Oct 20, 2016
    Hi all,
    I am brand new to this site and to having chickens! We have 2 adults who have made our yard home recently. We aren't sure where they came from but they have lived in our backyard for 2-3 months and roost in a tree at night. We broke down and bought a coop online so they'll have somewhere warmer to roost before the weather turns cold.
    I followed some forum advice and was able to lock them in today, but they don't seem very happy. They paced and looked for a way out and tonight went up the ramp, but would not enter the actual house where the roost is. There is food and water within the coop fencing as well as bedding in the house and nesting box. They seem to have just cuddled up on the ground and I'm worried they're miserable and might attract predators!
    My question is will they eventually go inside the house and become comfortable? I feel so bad locking them in when they have been roaming the whole yard for a while!
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Welcome to BYC! Good for you for giving two birds a safe home. Assuming no one in the area has missing chickens, all too often they are dumped off. It's happened to me a few times, mostly with unwanted roos. You're doing the right thing by locking them up in the coop. They may not seem to like it now, but they'll thank you later that you didn't leave them in the tree for an owl or other critter to enjoy for a late night snack. Keep them locked up for a week or so and maybe try sticking them on the roost in the coop a few times. With time, they'll start to see the coop as "home". It may even take some extra time with these two, given the amount of time they've spent outside.
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    First [​IMG]

    Take and place those chickens inside coop. In no time they will get used to the comfort of being in the enclosed shelter. Its like teaching an old dog a new trick. It can be done. Takes a little time and they will have the routine down pact on their own. Remember that just prior they were wild living in the tree.
    In the morning, just open coop and let them exit at their own will. You may keep the feed inside to encourage them to enter to get some chow. Other option is to keep feed in the run area, and have some scratch or goodie treats in coop.
  4. juliamiles

    juliamiles Just Hatched

    Oct 20, 2016
    Thank you both so much![​IMG] that definitely makes me feel better! I'm not sure we could pick them up as they're very skittish when you get within a few feet. We will see how it goes today and might try that if they seem to be accepting. I'll keep you posted! Thanks again!
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    You have some good advice. Just to add - if, after you have kept them in the coop for a few days, you could try putting a light (a torch, for example) in the coop just before dusk - it can help encourage them into the coop (you can then turn the light off, once they are in).
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    CT is right. The light will help.

    Chickens hate change. They also refuse to go any place where they can't be sure is safe, and being able to have light to see will help in this. In their chicken brains, they think there could be scary things lurking upstairs in the coop, so they are reluctant to explore. On the other hand, they crave cover as night comes.

    Given time, they will adjust to their new home.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You could always put them in the coop at night, well after dark, they are much easier to catch then.
    Keep your light pointed away from them as much as possible.
    Wrap both hands around their wings to hold them down.
    Place them in the coop and keep them there for a couple days....with feed and water of course.
    Hopefully your coop is of good size for them and has adequate ventilation.

    ETA: It will probably take weeks for them to settle down.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Um, but not a for-really torch!! [​IMG] A little solar light that you can charge during the day and put into their new coop at night will do very nicely. It will run for quite a few hours and then gradually dim, so they'll have some hours of darkness, which I'm a firm believer that chickens need for deep sleep. Good luck!

    And Welcome to BYC!
  9. juliamiles

    juliamiles Just Hatched

    Oct 20, 2016
    Thank you all so much! Where could I find this sort of torch that dims after a while? It might be worth trying - they haven't seemed to have settled or gone inside the coop yet, but I think the light sounds like a great idea since at least one of them keeps going to the top of the ramp and then just jumping back down...[​IMG]

    I'm trying to be patient, it seems this will take time. I'm just feeling like a mean chicken mom for locking them up! [​IMG]
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Mean for trying to keep them safe? Not in the eyes of most of us on BYC, believe me! The light I was talking about is just a little solar light on a stake, available at almost any retailer. Hope that helps!

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