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#1 of 21 Old 06-03-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you get your chickens to go in at night? I have been trying to train our girls to go in their house so we can close them in at night for almost 2 months. I throw "treats" in and talk to them. They were doing good until we left them in for a couple days when we went out of town. Now they go in and look at their treats but come back out before all are in to close the door. Suggestions?

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#2 of 21 Old 06-03-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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Do you have light in their coop? I think I read somewhere recently about having a light on to encourage them in.
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#3 of 21 Old 06-04-2010, 09:06 AM
 
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Here's how I've trained my chickens to go into their coop (or anywhere else I want them to go). My girls just LOVE chicken scratch. It is their favorite treat ever. I keep the scratch in a small plastic container that I can shake and it makes noise. They see that container and hear that shaking and come running. I go into the coop and keep shaking it until they are ALL inside with me and only then throw some on the floor. Then I am able to retreat with ease. Good luck!

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#4 of 21 Old 06-04-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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We have a small flock (less than 100) and we find that light is very important. We keep the light on until about 9 or 10pm, by then all the chickies have gone inside, then we shut the door and turn out the light. We keep the light on (just a single bulb in the coop ceiling) all night in the winter to improve production.
We've had to adjust things slightly since we got ducks... we cut a "duck door" in the side of the coop and made a door that will raise and lower with the pull of a rope. The ducks hate going in at night so for the last few months, we keep the main coop door shut but leave the duck door open. Both chickens and ducks alike use it... plus it keeps us from having to go out there at the crack of dawn to let them out!
Another big one for us is fresh bedding. We clean out the coop about once a month... the chickens love to fluff themselves in fresh shavings!

I hope you can convince your chickens that they want to go inside at night. Sometimes it just doesn't happen. We had a flock of white hens (the breed escapes me right now) - the skinny white ones with the huge red combs - but they were the stupidest birds known to creation. You couldn't get them to move in any direction, even if you threw food or treats! Maybe you have stunned white birds, too?

Hope that helps.
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#5 of 21 Old 06-04-2010, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had a flock of white hens (the breed escapes me right now) - the skinny white ones with the huge red combs - but they were the stupidest birds known to creation. You couldn't get them to move in any direction, even if you threw food or treats! Maybe you have stunned white birds, too?
Leghorns?

Only one time did we try a light but I think we just went out with a flashlight. We do not have electric near the coop. I will have to think about that one. I hate to have something battery operated. Solar maybe? But then how would we turn it off without opening the door to the hen house? .... Hmm... I do wonder where they will choose to lay once they start since they do not seem to want to go in at night.

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#6 of 21 Old 06-04-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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Here's how I've trained my chickens to go into their coop (or anywhere else I want them to go). My girls just LOVE chicken scratch. It is their favorite treat ever. I keep the scratch in a small plastic container that I can shake and it makes noise. They see that container and hear that shaking and come running. I go into the coop and keep shaking it until they are ALL inside with me and only then throw some on the floor. Then I am able to retreat with ease. Good luck!
Are you me? That is EXACTLY what we do. One of us goes out in the yard with the scratch and shake it and "PRESTO!" we become the Pied Piper. They follow us to the tractor and walk right in.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-05-2010, 12:46 AM
 
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Leghorns! Yep, that was the breed. As dull-whitted as the day is long. Very sweet but just... stunned.

Do you have Leghorns, too?

I don't know what the solution is for electricity not running to your coop. How do you keep them warm in the winter? Just curious. Maybe you have mild winters. Perhaps there's some sort of solar light you can rig up... there's got to be something along those lines. I suppose you could try bringing them in before dark?

-Dee
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#8 of 21 Old 06-05-2010, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No we do not have leghorns but I wanted them in the future...not so sure now. We do try to get them in before dark because at dark they huddle in a corner of the run and do not move. i may have to try chicken scratch. Last night I put their "treats" further back in the house and they followed my smartest girl right in. We'll see how it goes tonight. As far as winter goes, we have not had them through winter yet but I have read that they can handle cold better than heat as long as their environment is dry. Also have heard warnings against electricity especially in small coops like ours beacuse of the risk of fire. We are planning on taking the advice of keeping the coop well insulated (with ventilation) and we use the deep litter method so they can snuggle into the bedding for more warmth. We will see how it goes. Usually winter is not too awful here.

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#9 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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I has the same problem and it was solved with light. Put a light (flashlight?) in the coop before dusk and then go away. My very first night trying it worked. I had been out there running around catching them and throwing them in the coop every night! My kids learned a few choice words from that!

Now we can let the girls out of the pen in the late afternoon so they can 'free-range' for a few hours. Then they head back to the coop on their own, with no light necessary.

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#10 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I has the same problem and it was solved with light. Put a light (flashlight?) in the coop before dusk and then go away. My very first night trying it worked. I had been out there running around catching them and throwing them in the coop every night! My kids learned a few choice words from that!

Now we can let the girls out of the pen in the late afternoon so they can 'free-range' for a few hours. Then they head back to the coop on their own, with no light necessary.
How long did you use the light before they got the idea?

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#11 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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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.

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#12 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
You are too cute! Sounds like something I would do. I swear some animals are smarter than we give them credit for.

It is staying light longer now and we have been trying to put them to bed at the same time and that is most likely part of the problem because it is before dusk now. I will let you know what happens. Thanks for your help.

BTW we are newbies too!

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#13 of 21 Old 06-06-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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My chicks get here next week and I want to say THANKS for these tips! Sounds like maybe a flashlight would do the trick if they won't go in? We will have a ramp for them too.
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#14 of 21 Old 06-07-2010, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:

Hubby went out to setup a light in the coop yesterday evening about 6pm (which is the time I've been trying to put them in with treats). He setup the light inside then walked to the garden. Did a few things in the garden then remembered he forgot to turn the light off (he planned on turing it on at dusk). To his surprise the girls were already inside so he closed the door. I will keep you posted on how this works out and what happens when we take the light out. I hope this works

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#15 of 21 Old 06-09-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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looks like it worked! Have you tried without a light yet?

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#16 of 21 Old 06-10-2010, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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looks like it worked! Have you tried without a light yet?
Update:

Day 1: The girls went right in after the light was installed during daylight hours (explained above)
Day 2: The girls went in very quickly after the light was turned on. At dusk.
Day 3: Turned light on at dusk, waited about 1 and 1/2hrs before hubby got impatient and put them in by hand. I gave him some fresh veggie scraps to toss in the hen house before he turned on the light. The girls played around with it dropping some out and going back out after it. DH has been observing them with the light and reporting to me. He said that the same girls go in and 1 lonely girl stays out in the run. The previous nights the last straggler made her way in. Last night she stayed out until the other girls came back out. Maybe we had a problem because of the treats being dropped out yesterday. I just wonder why the one little girl will not go in with the rest of them? Before we starting trying the light, while I was being "the chicken whisperer" (as DH calls me) and trying to coax them in with treats and some "here chick chick chick, go to bed girls, bedtime girls" I noticed some of the same lagging behind by the one girl. I told DH maybe she is at the bottom of the pecking order and afraid to intrude on their territory or something? We will continue to use the light a few more nights with no treats and see how it goes. I am trying to have faith but I really do not forsee these girls getting the idea and continuing to go in at dusk if we remove the light. I do really hope it works!! I will report back to you

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#17 of 21 Old 06-24-2010, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good news....

After using a light for about 2 weeks the girls have put themselves to bed without the light for 3 nights in a row. Hope this continues!! Thanks so much for the advice!

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#18 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 03:30 AM
 
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That was super fun to read

Wanted to add for anyone else with this issue that we will train the "dunder heads" by allowing them to go to sleep where they are and then moving them to where we want them to roost in the coop once they are asleep. Something about waking up in the right spot makes them want to go back to it more naturally. It has taken up to 4 or 5 nights in a row to get them to do it, but it does work. I'm all about hen-raised chicks now so I never have to think about it again!

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#19 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That was super fun to read

Wanted to add for anyone else with this issue that we will train the "dunder heads" by allowing them to go to sleep where they are and then moving them to where we want them to roost in the coop once they are asleep. Something about waking up in the right spot makes them want to go back to it more naturally. It has taken up to 4 or 5 nights in a row to get them to do it, but it does work. I'm all about hen-raised chicks now so I never have to think about it again!
They don't wake up while you are moving them? I've never heard this before but it makes sense.

So far so good without the light Many thanks!!!!

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#20 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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They don't wake up while you are moving them? I've never heard this before but it makes sense.

So far so good without the light Many thanks!!!!
They will kind of open their eyes but I think they are too sleepy to react. Gave me new insight on "sitting ducks" haha

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#21 of 21 Old 07-03-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They will kind of open their eyes but I think they are too sleepy to react. Gave me new insight on "sitting ducks" haha
"Sitting ducks" great insight. I learned the meaning behind calling someone "chicken" when I put a head of califlower in the house and they were to "chicken" to go in until I removed it.

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