Originally Posted by livinlovinlaughin
How long did you use the light before they got the idea?
Well, I'm a total newbie so I'll explain in more detail but you can't laugh at me.
I started the girls in the coop during the day with a red heat lamp because my toddlers couldn't keep their hands off them and I was sick of the noise. 11 chicks. I brought them to the house at night.
When it warmed a bit I let them wander the pen and/or yard all day and then sleep in the coop at night. But they wouldn't go into the coop on their own. It is a trapdoor type entry-way that is essentially a ramp for them to go up. I thought they couldn't navigate the ramp into the coop.
Too steep, not enough space to turn onto the main floor at the top, who knows? So I'd chase the dang animals around and then hold the chick while walking it up the ramp. Like it was so stupid it didn't know how.
Just picture me chasing the things around and then getting down on my hands and knees under the coop "teaching" it how to get up the ramp. In the rain. Or the mosquito's. Crawling in chicken poop. I think my neighbors watched just for the entertainment value!
Then one night I put a regular light bulb in a little before dusk. When I came back out they were all roosting in the coop.
Duh! I don't think it was my "teaching" that got them up there. I think it was about 3 hours from when I turned the light on to when I checked them again. The next two nights I turned the light on again before dusk and when I went to check they were all safely tucked in for the night. I've not had to use the light again. I also feel comfortable letting them out of the pen 3-7 hours before dark and letting them wander because they always go back to the coop to roost at night.
It really was simple that I had to laugh at myself for all my work collecting them at night. They can fly and move fast when they get big! Let us know what happens if you try this.