will they do it themselves?


6 Years
Sep 10, 2013
catskills, New York
In an effort to make my chicken run fun for the girls, adding roosts, and boxes, I have created an environment that encouraged them to roost in the run. Didn't care, as long as warm enough. My first coop is a 4x2 box, set up wrong, given to us by a man who got it free from Craig's list, he says kept 8 chickens in it, I pray they were bantams! Coop is inside a 10x10 dog kennel. I have since changed its interior. Never slept in it, but will hang out in it during the day.
Go to get chicks, have to get six, next week, six more (cuz they're different, better layers), buy a 250.00 online coop, awful. Not rain proof, barely tall enough, also in the kennel, will hang out in, but not sleep in. Still shy of appropriate square footage for chickens, so still need more coop, bottom line is need to build it. So chicks roosting in run, in spite out two small coops. I put tarps along the walls to stave off chilly breezes. Add another 10 ft on the run. Now we build our coop. Coop is 6x 5 1/2 ft, with two 6ft perches running length of coop and 2 nest boxes. Put food in coop, catch polish, stuff in first night, 2 ee's sleep alowith them. 2nd night stuff all twelve thru pop door, lock them in. Tonight come home from work, polish roosting on lowest roost in pen, not covered.( I took down all high roosts under the roofed part of run( where they try to roost at night)). 5 of the chickens are in New coop, and five on top of old coop, looking for the roosts. This part is tarped and covered so not a hazard, But... Will they go into the shelter if it gets too cold/windy? Or are they such creatures of habit they will roost in run until I intervene? Basically asking if I need to catch them and keep stuffing them in at dusk, or if they will "get it" and go in for the winter.
Thanks for any input, love this site!!
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I have had chickens take up to a week of reinforcing to get the hang of where to go to bed. It is best to go out there at dusk, when they start looking like they want to go to bed. Then start helping them into the coop. Do this consistently every night, until they start immediately going for the coop. They will get the hang of it!
Unfortunately my shift runs til seven. 4 nights a week not home at dusk. Left work early first night, was worried about Polish being confused, lol. Tonight it was the austrolorpe s and orps and one ee who went in on own. Brahma boy wants no part, and his lady sticks with him. Might eat him yet. Make more room for girls. Bet if I could get the roo's in, ladies would follow?
And thanks, am pretty sure I agree with you.. gonna have to catch em... but was hoping...
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As long as their run is solidly predator-proof, you probably don't need to worry. With the exception of the meat hybrids like the Cornish X or Heritage White, they will take care of their temperature needs, either by seeking shade or warmth. My chickens roost spread out in warmer weather, but will make "chicken piles" in the winter when it's cold. I'll look in the coop and there will just be a pile of feathers and I have to count faces to know all of them are there. Then later when you're on vacation, or the sun is still up when you're off work, if you want to try to train them to roost exclusively in the coop, you can do it then, if they haven't already made the switch on their own over the winter.
It's funny, this morning, ten of the twelve were in the coop. All except the polish pair. They must wake up a little chilly and go inside, my backwards chickens!!
Well, had a setback last night. Six went to bed by themselves, six stayed outside. The six packs were purchased a week apart and even though they were babies together I have two distinct flocks within the larger flock. I fear that if the polish don't go in, the 4 ee s won't either. If I am home I can catch the two crested polish and then the ee s will go in on their own. I know they can get to the door, they were inside the coop this morning. I think they are just such creatures of habit, that they want things back the way it was.

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