Jul 10, 2012

Coop Training Chickens to Roost & Use Nest Boxes

How to train chickens to return to the coop to roost at night and to lay eggs in nest boxes.
At one time or another, most chicken-keepers have experienced the inconvenience of having to chase, coax, cajole or otherwise escort a new flock member into the coop at dusk, which is no fun for us, or them. Chickens do not manage stress well and moving from one housing arrangement to another is extremely stressful for chickens, whether from a brooder to a coop or from one backyard to another. How they manage that stress will vary from chicken to chicken, but it often results in confusion about where ‘home’ is and where they should sleep at night.   
There is a way to teach chickens to roost inside the coop-  I refer to it as Coop Training.  Coop Training can be done chickens of any age but the younger, the better.
There is a way to teach chickens to roost inside the coop-  I refer to it as Coop Training.  Coop Training can be done chickens of any age but the younger, the better. It is far easier to teach good habits from the beginning than it is to try to break bad habits later. For this reason, I always Coop Train young and new flock members.

THE COOP TRAINING METHOD
**An important safety note: Coop Training should never be done when the temperatures inside the coop exceed 70° F.**
Confine chickens to the coop with no access to the run for at least a week. This reinforces the concept of ‘home’ and they have no choice but to roost inside the coop.
Coop Training should never be done when the temperatures inside the coop exceed 70° F.** Confine chickens to the coop with no access to the run for at least a week. This reinforces the concept of ‘home’ and they have no choice but to roost inside the coop.
Week two, open the pop door and allow them to venture out into the run if they wish, but do not interfere if they would rather not. In the unlikely event they do not return to the coop at dusk that first night, they need more time confined to the coop. In another week, try again. (I have never had to resort to adding on a second week.)
If allowing the flock to free-range, week three is the time to open the door to the run and let them explore the great outdoors. They will likely remain in close proximity to the coop and run and will return to roost at night.
If allowing the flock to free-range, week three is the time to open the door to the run and let them explore the great outdoors. They will likely remain in close proximity to the coop and run and will return to roost at night.
If allowing the flock to free-range, week three is the time to open the door to the run and let them explore the great outdoors. They will likely remain in close proximity to the coop and run and will return to roost at night.
I discovered the concept of Coop Training quite by accident. My first dozen chickens to occupy the coop never required chasing or encouragement to roost inside the coop at night, but when I added the first of many subsequent flock members to the coop, I found myself coaxing chickens off the roof or from underneath the coop after dark.
My first dozen chickens to occupy the coop never required chasing or encouragement to roost inside the coop at night, but when I added the first of many subsequent flock members to the coop, I found myself coaxing chickens off the roof or from underneath the coop after dark.
My first dozen chickens to occupy the coop never required chasing or encouragement to roost inside the coop at night, but when I added the first of many subsequent flock members to the coop, I found myself coaxing chickens off the roof or from underneath the coop after dark.
In contemplating the differences between the two groups of chickens, I realized that that my first dozen chicks were not allowed into the run for several weeks after they took up residence in the big girl coop. The second group of chickens were stressed by the move from brooder to coop as is to be expected. The newbies were also disoriented by their new home and the less-than-welcoming existing residents. The newbies did not have the benefit of being confined to the safety of their new home as the first group did. Lesson learned and problem solved within a week.
My first dozen chickens to occupy the coop never required chasing or encouragement to roost inside the coop at night, but when I added the first of many subsequent flock members to the coop, I found myself coaxing chickens off the roof or from underneath the coop after dark.
Coop training also addresses the problem of hidden egg nests. Some free-range chickens will lay their eggs in hidden locations throughout the property, which is undesirable. Coop training gives hens no choice but to lay their eggs in nest boxes. It can help to put fake eggs, such as wooden eggs, marble eggs or golf balls in the nest to suggest to the birds where theirs should be laid. After a week or two of confinement to the coop and run, they will develop the habit of laying eggs where it is convenient for us, not them.

Some free-range chickens will lay their eggs in hidden locations throughout the property, which is undesirable. Coop training gives hens no choice but to lay their eggs in nest boxes.
photo used with permission, L. Bittinger 2012


Coop Re-Training

There are times when chickens that have been residing in the coop for some time suddenly fail to return to the coop at dusk, which can be due to a predator scare or some other stressor. Once the issue has been identified and resolved, coop re-training can begin.  The solution to their apprehension is simply to re-train them for a week as outlined above. Again, the temperature inside the coop must not exceed 70°F and the underlying stressor must be resolved first.
There are times when chickens that have been residing in the coop for some time suddenly fail to return to the coop at dusk, which can be due to a predator scare or some other stressor. Once the issue has been identified and resolved, coop re-training can begin.
Nest Box Training
A related training opportunity can be seized upon while Coop Training new chicks in an empty coop-  Nest Box Training. Whenever I put new chicks (not hens who are already laying eggs) in an empty coop, I always close off access to the nest boxes to prevent them from sleeping in them. Sometimes in the confusion and stress of the move, they will hide in the nest boxes and develop the unwanted habit of sleeping and pooping in them. That is a habit best discouraged from the beginning as it is quite difficult to break. When the chickens approach approximately 17 weeks of age, the nest boxes can be opened for business. 
Roosts should always be higher than the nest boxes. Chickens like to sleep as high up as possible- if the nest boxes are higher than the roost, they will sleep in or on the nest boxes. 
If the ladies are already laying eggs, close off the nest boxes after the they have finished laying eggs for the day.
If the ladies are already laying eggs, close off the nest boxes after the they have finished laying eggs for the day. This prevents sleeping in nest boxes. Be sure to remove the blockades first thing in the morning. If the chickens do not roost willingly after being denied access to the nest boxes, manually place each bird on the roost after dark. It may take a few weeks of this routine to train the chickens to sleep on the roosts, but it works for most. Some refuse to roost and it's not the end of the world if they won't. 
Disclaimer at The Chicken Chick
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick


246 comments :

  1. Esther Widgren7/10/12, 6:09 PM

    Very timely and welcomed article for me! I had one chicken who likes to camp out on the roof of the coop. Now it's two and I don't know how to stop them! And it stresses all of us when I have to grab them off the roof and put them into the coop! Of course I can't "train" them now; it's too hot! I guess I'll have to wait until fall :-(

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post is good timing - a carpenter will start building a new coop for my hens. I was curious about how to make the transition to the new coop. However, temps are in the 90s and 100s here in the Midwest. Will wait for better weather to "coop train." Thx for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, I needed this! My little ladies have taken to not wanting to be in their coop at night, with it being so hot I don't blame them and didn't push the issue but wondered how I would get them back in without playing chase for 45 min every night!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You reinforced lessons that I have learned the hard way. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great information Kathy. I just wanted to add one thing. Coop training can even be done when you want to call your chickens to the coop before dusk. Last summer, I trained my chickens to come on command. Of course I only had 3 at the time, but it was very useful when I had to leave the house and didn't want to leave the Henny Penny's out on their own. Click Here to see a video of my girls coming on command and going into their chicken run. ;)

    It's pretty adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think mine enjoy the game of go to bed already. It seems they like the chase. All three follow me to the coop but then refuse to ho in until I run around the yard with them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Mine have always wanted to be in their coop! I am helping my neighbor get her's used to a new coop. This will be helpful if we have problems!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Luckily I've never had trouble getting the flock in the coop, but I do have a friend who has this problem right now. I've directed her to this post. Such a great resource!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kathy! Thank you for all the wonderful info here, on your FB page and now on GRIT! You are a blessing to all of us :) Also entered the contest (BTW thank you for the chance)
    Mandi Miller
    sevenruns@dishmail.net

    ReplyDelete
  10. mine have been nest box trained. But found 4 egg in a bush . My dilemma is getting them to use the roost instead of huddling on floor. Moved the young to the new house with purchases . They will not use the perch
    lynn crone.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the nesting spot they picked in the tree what a great place :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Always love learning new information - your site is the best.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I do this with my new chickens but didn't with my Turkeys and wish I would have.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Not able to comment on the link. I have to do chicken re-education camp every couple months or so, since they like to hide the eggs!

    ReplyDelete
  15. wow i wonder if it works with all birds like ducks and guinnies bobby sue jabat kbjabat@att.net

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the spot they picked to lay their eggs. <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is exactly how I have been doing it! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have Silkie Chickens. They are broody and love to play pile up on one another. I have 3 chickens, 3 nesting boxes and they still want to have the "cuddle huddle", as I call it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have 3 Silkie Chickens and they are broody girls and they love to play "pile up". I have 3 nesting boxes, but they still like the "cuddle huddle", as I call it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great info and pics :) I have done this with al my chickens.. When I had ducks & Turkeys,, they just followed the girls in the coop,, But on a hot night the duck would rather stay outside so I would have to chase her in...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guineas also follow the chickens! They always roosted with the chickens and even laid their eggs in the nest boxes....which made it nice when I was hatching guineas!

      Delete
  21. Thanks for the giveaway, love to coin purse, so cute!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Awesome and timely info! As always you are a great help to both newbies and old time chicken (and duck!) folks!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awesome and timely info for newbies and old time chicken (and duck!) keepers. Keep up the great work! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  24. We do this with our too!
    Bobbie Sue
    bobbiesuex3@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  25. I like the info and the coin purses too. I have been kinda doing this same thing... Our coop isn't very big so when we got the newest birds, we let them free range during the day. At dusk we rounded them up just waving our arms and telling them it was beddy bye time. (I know they don't understand the words, but at least our neighbors aren't scratching their heads and wondering what we are up to now.) After a week of 'herding' them inside, they started going in by themselves and except for a couple of rebels, they all did very well. Now I can count on them all being in the coop at twilight. I just have to close doors after counting beaks that is. I think your idea is very good and if I can talk mu hubby into a bigger coop, I can use your idea! I would LOVE that!

    ReplyDelete
  26. always enjoy reading your blog. they always help me

    ReplyDelete
  27. Good info and timely. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Monica Johansson/fb7/13/12, 1:35 AM

    Love the blogg :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. mine always come running and follow me in for their night time snack.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Awesome information! We've coop trained the majority of our flock, but with the heat this summer, how do you suggest we train the newbies? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Katy! Often younger chickens will take the clue from the older ones and follow them into the coop at night. If they're not going into the coop on their own accord, it's likely due to being picked on by higher ups in the pecking order, so there really isn't much that can be done about that. When the temps cool down later in the season, they you can try Coop Training. It's never too late.

      Delete
  31. Just found you web page! Love and follow you on FB and wanted to say HELLO!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I neede to do some coop retraining....I work nights and it is important for the girls to be in bed and closed up at night, because I caome home too late, my husband has that job...and he sometimes forgets adn I forget to double chek him which has resulted in some fatalities of the girls and the desire to roost in the top of the big barn where ai can reach them, then they start laying all over the barn again....so right now they are on lockdown....coop and run only until they learn to behave....it is easier in the fall and winter when the days are shorter.....these goofy girls like to stay out and party all night!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your web site is a lot of fun and I've enjoyed reading and learning now that I have seven hens of my own. They are about six months old and have begun laying eggs. I'm having trouble with one hen, who happens to be a Rhode Island Red named Rita who refuses to come into the coop at night. All the others come in without fuss, but Rita prefers to go up into an adjacent tree. We go out and shake the branch with a rake and she reluctantly comes down, but I'm wondering if there is something I can do to prevent this. It will get old when the weather gets cold and wetter here in Seattle. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  34. Help
    I have 7 hens and 2 nest boxes... one hen is laying on the floor of the coop or outside of the coop beneath the nest box. How do I train only one hen to use the nest box??
    Thanks!!
    ~Anne

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for the helpful info...I have 32 chickens and 24 of them are roosting in a 40 ft. hemlock tree beside the coop.  How do I stop them from going to the tree and go to the coop instead?

    ReplyDelete
  36. TheChickenChick12/8/12, 9:31 PM

    As I discussed in this blog post, Susan, they have to be confined for the indicated time frame to the coop and run without free-ranging privileges. Winter is the best time to do this. Good luck with it and let me know how it works out!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Diane Christian12/9/12, 8:05 AM

    I found that when I added new girls they were being scared out of using the roost by the older girls.  I made sure I was out there to 'redirect' the new girls out of the tree on to the roosts. It is not much different from training anything...be consistent and persevere.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Chara Shopp2/7/13, 1:44 AM

    I need some help with a coop training situation. :) We have about 30 layers plus a great rooster. We added some new birds to the flock another smaller rooster and his 4 hens. We kept them separated (quarantined) in separate yards where they could see each other but didn't interact. We have had no issues with the roosters, our original is the "alpha", but the new chickens got so used to living and roosting in a kennel in the front yard that now they won't stay in the main coop. Our chickens all free range and the coop is too small to keep them all in for more than a couple days, the main ones don't need to be trained, just this little new batch. We tried putting in a large kennel inside the coop and keeping the new batch in it, but it really ended up being too small when we added a nest box, water and food... Ideas? Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. TheChickenChick2/7/13, 11:36 PM

    The only thing I can suggest is a bigger coop or a separate coop for the newbies. Regardless of whether chickens free-range or not, the coop should be a minimum of 4 square feet per bird, so unless your coop is 120 square feet, it's too small for all of those birds; you should be able to keep them all confined if necessary for more than a few days. The run should be 10 sq feet per bird. I can't think of another way to train these birds where their new home is unless it by confining them to it. That's what you did with them in the front yard and the message was received.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm still in the process of trying to get my girls to roost by them selves. In the brooder they roosted on a rod 6in of the ground. At 8 weeks they were flying up to the top of the 3 ft enclosure to the brooder. They have been in the coop now for 3 weeks and have yet to roost on their own. Every night I go to the coop, they are all huddle in a ball in the corner of the coop. I have to one by one place them on the roost, they find "their" spot and then will stay there for the night. I even added a lower roost thinking I might have put them too high and still "No Go". Hoping they figure it out sooner than later!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Melanie Christopherson2/18/13, 3:45 PM

    I pinned this post just a day ago and it's already proved useful!  A few days ago I notice one of my girls burrowing in the far corner of my compost bin (I love how good my chickens are at composting!), and since they are just starting to lay, I was uncertain if she was laying or just resting, so I waited.  Yep, she laid and egg and I was thrilled to think she was finally laying, but not when I saw the egg:  It was the same color as one from a few weeks ago that was in the nest box.  I was suspicious!  I hoped this was a one-off, but I saw her in the same spot again yesterday so as soon as she was done laying I booted her out of the bin and started turning the compost pile manually, and just as I suspected, there were eggs buried in the corner!  I had just read this post when I figured out was was going on; she had likely been laying this entire time and I just never saw the eggs.  Since I only have four chickens at the moment, I want those eggs!  

    Thanks so much for this post and for the simplicity of the solution.  I know she's not happy being in the coop (she has plenty of room and it's still cold here) and I feel like a jailer, but I am grateful to know this will likely work itself out.  

    ReplyDelete
  42. TheChickenChick2/19/13, 10:46 PM

    Let me know how it works out for you, Melanie!

    ReplyDelete
  43. At what age can I put my chicks outside? They have been under a heat lamp in my garage but they are 6 weeks old now and getting so big. They are leghorn Ameruacana cross. They are in a make shift brooder made out of a large Rubbermaid container and they have no room to move around. I feel bad for them because its such a small space for 5 growing chicks. Its 20 degrees outside and snowing. My coop is very small. There is no lamp in the coop and my 3 laying hens are much bigger then my 6 week old chicks. I have a 4 ft by 4 ft run I plan to put them in and place it against the main chicken run. But there is no coop with this small run. I was thinking I could cut a hole in the side of the Rubbermaid container and make that their temporary coop but again their is no heat. What do I do? They need out of this container within the next day or two. I have no where for them to go! I wish it would warm up!!

    ReplyDelete
  44. always good info!! thank you for all your posts

    ReplyDelete
  45. When setting new hens, I put a light in the coop ... as dusk falls, the girls naturally move towards the light. Once they're in, it can be turned off. It's never failed me and usually works within three days ...

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi, I love your website! All of our chickens are coop trained and lay eggs in the coop. At the moment we have a problem of one hen not roosting. She lays huddled up on the poop board under the roost. Every night for the last 3 months my husband lifts her up onto the roost. How long does it take for her to "get the idea" and fly up there herself? The other problem we have is (potentially the same hen) is laying her eggs from either the roost or the poop board which then falls to the ground and breaks. Its so disappointing every day to throw away an egg. Especially an araucana egg. All of the other hens roost no problem and lay their eggs in the box. Do you have any suggestions or tips for us? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  47. TheChickenChick4/3/13, 10:51 PM

    Some chickens never get it, but I figure if I'm out there closing up the coop anyway, it's no big deal to put a reluctant rooster up on the roost.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Awesome blog, just joined and I have learned so much. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  49. My new hens are only 7 weeks old. They are still in my garage because we do not have coop ready for them yet. Planning to move them this next weekend if weather permits. I had not planned on even putting up my nesting boxes until they were 17 weeks or more. It that okay to do? Also we will be building the run while the chickens are in the coop. Will the noise of building be to much for them? Thanks for any help given.

    ReplyDelete
  50. TheChickenChick4/25/13, 1:57 AM

    They'll be fine. It'll be stressful, but they'll manage.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Barbara Van Fossen5/8/13, 7:20 AM

    I have a hen that is about 2 1/2 years old. She started becoming broody and staying in the nest box all day. I do not have any roosters. Sometimes I will find an egg under her, so I cannot be sure if it is hers. I can remove all the eggs from the box and she still stays there. She started sleeping there as well. I make her get off the nest in the afternoon so she can eat, but she just goes right back. She will get off 1st thing in the morning. This is everyones favorite box althougt I have 5 others. Any suggestions?

    Also, I will find fresh eggs just dropped in the yard out in the open. I had provided additional boxes for the less dominant hens, but they just started dropping them anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Sommer Garth5/8/13, 12:21 PM

    Wow I learned a lot from this. My silkies have always slept in the nesting and make a mess of their eggs. I am going to be getting more chicks this year so I will take these tips to keeping them from sleeping in their boxes!

    ReplyDelete
  53. TheChickenChick5/10/13, 12:45 AM

    This should help you with your broody hen, Barbara: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/05/broody-breaker-when-hens-mood-to-hatch.html

    ReplyDelete
  54. Barbara Van Fossen5/14/13, 6:07 PM

    Thanks so much. I know she was broody for about 2 weeks. At first I just thought she was sick, but then figured it out. It only took 2 1/2 days for her to get back with the group. Keeping my fingers crossed. I let her out around lunch time today and she has not gone back to the nest box as yet!

    ReplyDelete
  55. What if it is to warm to do the coop training, keeping them in there for two to three weeks? I put them in there coop every night but they aren't going in there willingly! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  56. TheChickenChick5/17/13, 9:08 PM

    Good news!

    ReplyDelete
  57. TheChickenChick5/17/13, 9:20 PM

    The only thing you can do is keep them confined to the run until the days/nights are cooler. Safety first.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I'm having the same problem with my girls. Every night I have to place them on the roost! I see you posted this a few months ago - how are they now and how long did it take for them to figure it out?

    ReplyDelete
  59. TheChickenChick5/20/13, 9:20 PM

    I wrote this months ago, but have been practicing it for years. The technique works at different rates for different groups of chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  60. it took both sets of newbies about 2 weeks. I made sure to go out every night and place them on the roost or force them to walk up the ladder and find their own spot. Now that I have layers my darn little ones want to sleep in the nesting boxes not on the floor so.....every night I stand in front of the nests so they don't have the option....hoping they will get the point! guessing it will take more that 2 weeks on this issue though :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. TheChickenChick5/24/13, 10:59 PM

    Put some egg cartons inside the nest boxes so that they cannot get into them, Christy. That should do it!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Barbara Van Fossen5/28/13, 2:50 PM

    My austrolorp hen has been treading my two Welsummers' and pulling out their feathers. These two are the only ones she bothers and I have another hen at the bottom of the pecking order which she does not do this to. Why is she doing this? Anything I can do. I have tried the aprons, but they I can't them them to stay on. I am afraid they are going to get sunburned now that it is getting hotter. I will have to try again with the aprons. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  63. TheChickenChick5/30/13, 12:46 AM

    Try a different type of hen saddle, Barbara. They should not be coming off. I get mine at Louise's Country Closet online.

    ReplyDelete
  64. My girls are coop trained, and within the next month we expect them to start laying. So, I just want to make sure I understand the post, to train them to lay in the coop should we confine them to the coop again? It's going to be very hot and I'm worried about that as well, and you mentioned not training them when it's too hot. So how do I get them trained during the summer?

    ReplyDelete
  65. I've been finishing up my run this week, and my girls went to the coop just 3 days ago. They don't seem bothered at all by the power drill, and are even following me around the run, while I'm drilling on the outside.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hi I have question for you. My chicks are going on 11 weeks old and are out in the big coup now. I cannot get them to roost at night. They all pile in a corner on the floor. They roost during the day though! I go out there and put them on the roost but they do not stay on it. I have been trying to get them to roost at night for 3 weeks now. I have not let them out yet either cause I am afraid they will not go back in! But I am dying to let them out.

    ReplyDelete
  67. TheChickenChick6/7/13, 10:20 PM

    Try putting them on the roost after dark, Deb.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Yes I put them on the roost in the dark every night and they do not stay on it. I cannot figure out why. What else can i do they only use it in the day time. They are backwards!

    Thanks,
    Deb Hart


    In a message dated 6/7/2013 9:20:23 P.M. Central Daylight Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

    (http://disqus.com/) _Settings _ (http://disqus.com/dashboard/#notifications) (http://disqus.com/dashboard/)

    A new comment was posted on _The Chicken Chick_ (http://redirect.disqus.com/url?impression=f8a76dde-cfe1-11e2-87ab-00259035ce46&forum=1856148&thread=88 8907963&behavior=click&url=http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/07/coop-tra ining-chickens.html#comment-922994155:YoRMxhsEZthHno102y0P8CyAISM&post=92299 4155&type=notification.post.registered&event=email)

    ReplyDelete
  69. I hope you don't mind me offing some advice Kathy.


    Hi Deb. It doesn't take long for chickens to learn where home is. Keeping them locked up in the coop for 3 weeks is really a long time. They are more than ready to come outside for some fresh air. At this point, since they have been confined to the coop so long, they may be leery of coming outside. Bring their food and water into the chicken run so they are forced to come out of the coop. You may need to physically carry each girl out, but they will certainly know where to go at night. As far as getting them to roost on the poles, keep being persistent with your girls. You are doing the right thing by putting them up on the roosting poles at night. Be sure that the floor of your coop is kept very clean so they are not sleeping in feces. I'm certain that eventually they'll catch on. I know it must be a pain since it's getting dark later and later during these summer months, but do be persistent.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Kathy,

    I have pullet/hen who has been laying for the last three months but for the last two weeks has been laying wind eggs. She is part of a three hen flock with one rooster. We recently culled the older hens that where no longer laying and also got rid of a very bossy roo too.

    The egg laying started just before we culled the flock. Their rations have not changed much except they get a little more greens since they can run free more often.

    Where do I begin to start with a cue for this problem? Should she be caged separately? Just not sure what to do first. Oh by the way I have been raising chickens for five years now and luckily this is the first major quandry.
    Donna

    ReplyDelete
  71. I don't know that it is necessarily a problem. Keep an eye on her for any signs of illness, but I believe it's more likely a temporary glitch vs a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi Chicken Chick,
    Maybe you can help me. I have a flock of 5 pullets that were returning to their coop every night until about a month ago. One of the chicks got their leg stuck between two roosting bars, which resulted in a leg sprain. (She was nursed back to health successfully) Since that event, the other chicks will not return to the house at night. What do you suggest as it is very warm this time of year and keeping them in the house all day is not really an option. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  73. TheChickenChick7/2/13, 12:47 AM

    I would try keeping them confined to the run, provided it is shady and you can keep them comfortable in it. If not, you're going to have to wait until temps are more reasonable to coop train them.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I depend on your blog. It has made life as a chicken keeper so good and tho I still hover over them still, I am confident they will survive! Only advice I would give is do not try to turn a shed into a coop. I am finally getting it a good home for my chickens and presentable. By the was I decided to raise bantams because they are survivors. I love the small eggs and added a couple that will give me some blue eggs.

    ReplyDelete
  75. new chicken owner7/7/13, 8:28 PM

    I just got 5 hens and 1 rooster at an auction recently (so they all appear to be adults; 1 plymouth rock, 1 basic brown, 3 white bantams, and a frizzled rooster of some sort). This is our first attempt at chickens. We've had them for 2 week today. We recieved 2 eggs the first day or so they were here. But nothing since. Water/food has been plenty, treats of watermelon & strawberry scraps, a light netting run that gives plenty of space.... it's been quite hot the past week or so though. My neighbors who are farmers said when stressed they'll stop laying (as did another person I know who has raised chickens for years). My question is how long until they start laying after a stressful event (like a move/exposure to a new flock & home)?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Erin Gay Hulderson7/8/13, 5:13 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to educate! I have two hens and three youngsters, 7 weeks, that I am preparing to add to the coop. The pullets are currently in a brooder at night in a spare bedroom. When we do the coop training, how do I mix the hens with the pullets and still allow the hens in to nest at night? They are coop trained and I don't want to discourage them coming home at night if the door is closed and locked. When do you recommend adding the pullets to the hens roost?

    ReplyDelete
  77. TheChickenChick7/8/13, 10:38 PM

    The way chickens process stress is very much an individual thing- there's really no way to predict when they will get over the stress of the move.

    ReplyDelete
  78. TheChickenChick7/12/13, 12:03 AM

    This is the "how," Erin: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html

    And the "when" can be figured out here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/04/when-to-move-chicks-from-brooder-to.html

    ReplyDelete
  79. I have 3 chickens about 2 years old, starting out small and am new to the chick world. I've had them about a month or more and they've been confined to the coop with a run on it because of a large dog that looked at them like they were a snack. Last week the dog became gone so I opened the run for them to free range. They returned back to coop to lay and at dusk on their own until 3 night ago. I went out to lock the run door and saw 2 of them on top of the run. I picked the, up put them in the run and they walk into the coop and have been for 3 nights now. 2 days ago I went to check for eggs and there not any and found one by our AC unit. That was the only egg that day. Yesterday there was only one egg found in the nest and the yard was searched and found none. I was thinking I should start keeping the run door locked until noon so they have to lay in the nest. And just keep placing my roofers in the run at dusk. Any other suggestions would be well appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Erin Gay Hulderson7/12/13, 1:02 PM

    Thank you! Thank you! Sounds like we are on the right track. A few additional questions, if you don't mind. We now have a dog crate in the run portion of the coop. The nesting boxes and roost in a small enclosed area on the top of the run (it is a two story deal with ramp from the roosting/nesting area to the run). The upper portion is about 4 x 4, so relatively small. We also have a tractor that we've been putting the chicks in during the day in the yard so the flockers are able to see them. Do you think that putting the chicks back in to the dog crate is sufficiently getting them used to "coming home at night"? We don't plan on integrating them all together for a few more weeks because the hens are still considerably bigger. When we do this, I imagine putting the younger chicks in the roost/laying area for a week to train them to come home to this area at night. When we close this off, I can remove the boxes. Will it confuse the hens if I move their laying boxes down below to the run area? I'm mostly concerned about them starting to lay somewhere else and then having to retrain them for the boxes as well.
    THANK YOU!!!

    ReplyDelete
  81. My previous room mate left her game chickens when she left. There are 2 roosters and 3 hens. They wander to our neighbors house daily and roost nightly in a tree directly above our parking area. I'm sure you can imagine what happens to our cars over night. More importantly though, the flock started out as 10 and is now down to 5. I recently found where the hens are laying their eggs and there were at least 35 shells around where probably a predator has be feasting for a while. Will the coop training work for these chickens as they have been completely free range with no coop for their whole lives?

    ReplyDelete
  82. TheChickenChick7/22/13, 6:59 PM

    It will work, but will take a lot longer than it would ordinarily. Do WAIT until temperatures are cool before attempting it.

    ReplyDelete
  83. we added in 8 new chicks to our existing 5. They have been in the run with the hens now for about 5 weeks. Our top hen seems to be acting fine, but she has laid 5 or 6 soft shell or shell less eggs since they have been added. The others are laying fine. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  84. Erica Revak8/9/13, 6:42 AM

    Kathy, I have a weird scenario. My 4 month old ladies get right up on their roost without problem, thanks to reading this blog before we moved them outdoors this spring. Now, each night when I go outside to check on them one of my Australorp's has been sleeping on the poop board right next to the three other ladies. I pick her up and put her back on the roost, but she doesn't stay on there long. So I took out the poop board for a bit and she's been staying on the roost. Is this the way you'd go with this and how long do I keep the poop board out?

    ReplyDelete
  85. TheChickenChick8/9/13, 10:25 PM

    I'd try it for a couple of weeks and hope that she gets comfortable with the roost.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Cqeith Mulholland8/10/13, 5:32 PM

    Hi Chicken chick!
    As a newbie I've an issue you most likely will be able to resolve..basically I've 3 red hens- approx 24wks old. In my run and coop for about 5 wks. I introduced 3 new hens (22wks old) about a week and a half ago. Obviously one of the red hens has become Top Hen! This results in her pecking at the 3 newbies constantly for the wk and half. The new hens wont go to roost at night and will sit outside all night if left. I lift them into the coop after dark, which i know is causing them stress, as the pecking continues inside. Am i right in lifting them? I don't fancy lifting them all the time ;-) all in all only the top hen is laying...the rest have not gone near the nesting box in the coop. I have to close up the slide door of the coop at night for the 3 red hens, thus forcing me to put the newbies inside..I'm gonna try laying myself if all else fails! Thnx.

    ReplyDelete
  87. TheChickenChick8/10/13, 10:01 PM

    The problem was that you didn't integrate the newbies properly. I would take the existing birds out of the coop and put them into a "playpen" as described in my blog post here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html
    Then allow the newbies to live in the coop as described in this Coop Training article. That should level the playing field in a few weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  88. farmer in the city8/20/13, 1:52 AM

    Missy I have hens too. When that happens I fine grind egg shells and place in the food. But no large pieces almost powder. Do this until shells are hard.

    ReplyDelete
  89. ailsa McQuade9/4/13, 2:38 AM

    we inherited 5chooks when we bought our house, sadly only 3 remain we set up a coop & are having difficulties getting them in at night it all depends how good the "pickins" were during the day I guess & how hungry they are. they used to roost in the trees & now seem to sleep in the boxes we put in for laying, we are trying to get better accommodations for them so will look into closeable nesting boxes (only 1 girl lays at the moment I don't know why) they are such lovely girls though, very curious & amusing to watch. I want to get more but will try to get these 3 lovelies (Ethyl, Rita & Mae) sorted out first. off to try again to get them to bed!

    ReplyDelete
  90. Jamesia Walker O'Kelley-Foucek9/16/13, 4:02 PM

    My husband has built a really nice BIG new chicken house...It is a 20'x15' building and the front half is a kidding pen for the goats and a tack room....The back half is the ckicken coop with adoor in the center that leads into the chicken coop. There are also access doors to the nesting boxes for ease in egg gathering and cleaning...We did keep the nesting boxes covered for the 1st wk to insure they would roost on the roost and after a couple of nights of going in and placing a few up on roost they are all now roosting on the roost...There is a dutch door in the back center leading out to the run which is not yet enclosed... (The chcikens were previously housed in 2 chicken tractors which we opened every day for free ranging...and they all went back to the tractors at night) there is a trap door in one end that will also open into the run...Here is my problem: After the 1st week in the coop we opened the trap door and they all came out and grazed as normal. At dusk they all gathered all around the old chicken tractors. (which we left closed) We had to wait until they roosted (EVERYWHERE) and move all 45 back into the coop.We waited another week to let them out again. During this time we cleaned and moved the other chicken tractors way away from that area but when we let them out same thing happened...How do I teach them to enter in the same trap door they come out? It is like they know where the coop is now but just not how to get back in...

    ReplyDelete
  91. Deborah J Jackson9/16/13, 11:24 PM

    Still at a loss as to why my girls aren't laying like they were. It's been a couple of weeks now and out of 6 hens, I'm getting one egg a day. A few of them are molting and I've searched all their hangouts and I'm not seeing any hidden eggs. I'm so puzzled. Could they just be taking a break???

    ReplyDelete
  92. TheChickenChick9/18/13, 10:26 PM

    There are MANY possible explanations for a drop in egg production, but this time of year molting and decreased daylight are the two usual suspects. Read more here: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/decrease-in-egg-production-causes.html

    ReplyDelete
  93. Would appreciate thoughts: 2 chicks (about to lay); free roaming in back yard. Suddenly spooked by mice. They are now roosting 7' up in a tree, after 6 weeks of being coop-trained.


    I'm worried the neighborhood raccoons will get the chickens. Any thoughts on how to get rid of mice (safely! for the sake of chickens/kids/other animals)? A difficult task, I think. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  94. TheChickenChick9/23/13, 10:32 PM

    This should help, Trevor: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2013/06/15-tips-to-control-rodents-around.html
    It does sound like you're going to have to begin coop training all over again because you're right, they will become victims to nocturnal predators. Coop training shouldn't require six weeks though.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Hi, have you ever had a few of your chickens or roosters stay in bush or a tree to roost for the night? If so, do they come back the next night?

    ReplyDelete
  96. TheChickenChick9/29/13, 9:49 PM

    I have never let them stay outside because the odds of being killed by a predator at night are too high.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I never have either. We had to re-home two of ours because they were roosters. One was my favorite & really my little baby. The friend I gave them to ended up having a few really aggressive roosters once they hit 6 months old. The one rooster Zazu was fine & didn't mind. My baby Blue she said would run & hide all day long in a neighbors bush. By the time she told me I said I'd bring him home so see if we can keep him or find a new home for him to be safe. He did not come back into the coop on Friday night. I have not heard anything from her since Sat morning. They live over an hour away & I want to go look for him, they live on a lot of land with a walnut orchard. All the chickens got to free range the whole day then would come back at night. My heart is breaking for Blue! Is it possible he is hiding & may show up? I know the longer he is missing the more at risk he is or the higher chance he has already been taken. Blue was not the only one who didn't come back into the coop on Friday. My friend said that there is a lot of orchard & a lot of places to hide.

    ReplyDelete
  98. TheChickenChick9/30/13, 8:32 PM

    It's possible, but I wouldn't be too optimistic at this point. Sorry. :(

    ReplyDelete
  99. Thank you. Been praying for Blue just in case. She let me know today that he is still not back, no signs of him not being alive, but that doesn't mean he wasn't taken. I so wish we could have roosters...then he'd still be here & safe.

    ReplyDelete
  100. TheChickenChick9/30/13, 10:26 PM

    So sad. :(

    ReplyDelete
  101. It is! I cried hard today :( Thank you, you understand :(

    ReplyDelete
  102. We have 3 ladies that are all that are left of a 20 girl flock. We coop trained all of them when we moved them from the brood cage to the coop. They started to fight us at night and then refused to go in the coop. We would put up the ones we could but inevitably some would not go. Then a fox got into the chicken yard and the coop. Killed all but the the 4 that would roost in the trees in the yard.
    Our remaining three girls now free range in the yard and roost in the cedar tree that us right at our back yard. This has been for almost 2 months now. They will not go into the pen at night and will not step foot in the coop at all since the coop was attacked.
    Should I try retrainjng them or leave it.
    The tree they roost in is very bushy and we think they prefer it because our lab patrols that area and seems to keep them safe.
    If we don't retrain them is there a way to set up nesting boxes under the tree or right under the house since that us where they are the most?

    ReplyDelete
  103. I have 17-5 week old chicks, 10 Red Rangers, 3 Rhode Island Reds , 3 Americanas and one surprise. I picked them because they are all suppose to be cold hardy and we live in Wyoming. We are having a colder than normal autumn and I am afraid to move them to the coop, it is insulated and I can put the heat lamp, even 2 if need be in there. Nights are in the 30's, do you think it is too cold? Moving in and during the day and back to the brooder at night seems like it would be stressful. They are getting to be escape artist and Ugggggg what a mess. ;) Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  104. TheChickenChick10/13/13, 11:38 PM

    Try retraining them because if you don't, it's just a matter of time before you have no chickens left. A predator will get them at night- it is not safe for them to sleep outside the coop.

    ReplyDelete
  105. TheChickenChick10/13/13, 11:41 PM

    I would not move them to the coop yet. I highly recommend AGAINST heat lamps in the coop. 30°F is NOT cold for fully feathered chickens, they can withstand subzero temperatures just fine in a properly ventilated coop. Wait until the chicks are fully feathered before transitioning them to the coop.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Thanks for the help.

    ReplyDelete
  107. my flock of 13 seem to understand the concept of the coop expect for my guiena fowl (4) they seem to think that they need to fly to the roof of the coop to say good night( very loudly)! My 2 Peking ducks will waddle in at dusk and the chickens soon follow!

    ReplyDelete
  108. Shelly Parker10/14/13, 5:53 PM

    I have found that mine pile up in the coop in a corner if I forget to turn the light on. Not sure if you have a little light in the coop or not, but you might try this idea until they get the hang of it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  109. michele gibson10/14/13, 6:21 PM

    Hi! I had about 25 hens last year, got new chicks in spring, kept them separate til last month when they began to lay. I'm not getting 50 eggs each day from my 51 chickens. I need to know how to cull them out...how do I tell who's a layin, and who's not? Also, how do I tell which are roosters or hens? Thanks so much this is such a wonderful, helpful site!
    Michele and chicks in Northern California mountains!

    ReplyDelete
  110. Dawn Montgomery10/14/13, 8:08 PM

    Thanks for the tip to close the nest box up until they are laying - I've had a couple sleeping in the nest box instead of on the roost.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Kathy Tedford10/15/13, 12:43 AM

    Those hens... I have had to do this also. My chickens free range and I have had a couple of hens turn broody and go hide their nest somewhere in the yard. Lay an egg in it every day or so and when they have a nest full, they disappear. I had one do this just recently. I had to pull her off her nest (discovered by accident). She was committed and her eggs were not going to hatch. I had to break her broodiness and re-coop train.....this meant everyone...sorry kids.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Recently, our hens egg production seemed to drop off drastically. They had two places outside the coop where they would lay, both in the ivy by the back porch. We allowed it as it seemed to make them happy. When the production dropped, we thought it was related to weather changes (fall) and maybe even a change in feeding/watering. This week, I came across a clutch of 26 eggs hidden in another place in the ivy I didn't know the hens could even get to. They were furious with me, but I removed the eggs, and left the nest. When we have another box completed, it will be "transplanted" into the box. Hopefully, this and the shorter days will encourage them to use the boxes more. Three already are great at it while the other 3 are just difficult and very determined. Maybe it is time for coop training again with nesting boxes open and ready...

    ReplyDelete
  113. TheChickenChick10/18/13, 5:39 PM

    Sneaky!

    ReplyDelete
  114. Hi,
    Was wondering if you had any ideas how to catch 7 month old chickens. We raised them from day old chicks, and are now moving them to new hen house. They mainly roost in the trees at night so we can't just pick them out of the hen house in the morning or evening. Also they free range. Thanks for any advice.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Erin Gay Hulderson10/29/13, 10:07 AM

    My chicks are now 23 weeks and we haven't seems any eggs. Do you think they are laying somewhere on the property? Our two hens haven't been laying since they started molting over 6 weeks ago. Neither one has laid an egg. It seems odd that we haven't seen eggs from either. Should I be concerned? We live in Seattle so the weather has changed drastically in those weeks. Also, it is starting to get relatively cold at night. Just above freezing. Do I need to do anything special for them at night? Or just make sure their water isn't freezing. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  116. Jaime Booker11/10/13, 10:11 AM

    do I need to put a light in the coop if im leaving the chickens in there for a whole week?

    ReplyDelete
  117. My chickens use their nest boxes and come into the coop by dark but sleep huddled up in the corner rather than using their roost. Do you think a week in the coop would help this?

    ReplyDelete
  118. Cheryl Poucher McAtee11/10/13, 10:30 AM

    My chickens love scratch!

    ReplyDelete
  119. TheChickenChick11/10/13, 7:41 PM

    If they're not egg-laying yet, block off the nest boxes so they cannot get into them. You may have to put them on the roosts after dusk nightly for a week or two, but they should get the drift.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Caroline McCann11/11/13, 9:55 PM

    Since we moved the clocks back, three of our seven hens have refused to go into the coop at night. We have to chase and grab them to get them in. Nothing else has changed. Would love any ideas on how to get them back in the coop!

    ReplyDelete
  121. Susan Siemers11/17/13, 8:59 AM

    I have gotten into a discussion with someone who picks up eggs in the morning. I don't understand morning egg pickup. In general, they don't lay at night, and in fact my old antique laying boxes have a bar that can be put up in the evening (after I do my last egg pickup of the day) to keep them out of the boxes at night. Do you feel that it is good practice to keep the chickens out of the laying boxes at night?

    ReplyDelete
  122. TheChickenChick11/17/13, 7:06 PM

    If you are having a problem with the birds sleeping in the nest boxes, I would put the bar up PROVIDED you can put it down early enough in the morning for them to use the next boxes. If you can't, you're going to find eggs laid willy-nilly about the coop.

    ReplyDelete
  123. OKay one of my hens stopped roosting at night all the sudden, so I made some changes and added another roosting bar but she still just lays there is the floor. Should I be worried because I had an incident with a cat chasing one of my buffs but I am not absolute if it is her. If anyone could help

    ReplyDelete
  124. Sally Bailey Law12/8/13, 9:23 AM

    I am a newbe had my little chicks few months now (about 3 months) they are outside in a pin-roost I got on line and assembled. You talk about picking up your chicks....mine act like they are deathly afraid of me. When I go out to feed them (still in their run) they run from me and have a fit. Will they get over that? I would love to be able to pick one up to love it. Also we have one that has a bad leg, was like that when we brought him home from feed store. I think she is a barred rock chicken. The other chicks don't pick on her, like I was afraid they would, but she just hops around and I don't think she can get up into the coop like the others. She seems healthy and seems to hop around good but I am also worried when I let them out to free range in few months. What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Your site is nice and inspire me a lot. I have 14 Rhode Island Red hens and I have the first and only egg today. I have 5 nesting boxes and I put each wooden egg in each of the nest box on the hay. The problem is they kicked all the hay and wooden eggs out of the nesting boxes. What is your advice about this problem? The first egg I found today was at the corner of the coop instead of the nesting box. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  126. TheChickenChick12/12/13, 7:55 AM

    Try Kuhl nest box pads and bottoms.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Hi, I have been searching the internet for possible solutions to my chicken's current roosting rebellion and your site has been very helpful in my process of elimination, however, I have yet to get them to return to the coop. They are laying their eggs in the nesting boxes, that has not become an issue, but they have been huddling at our back sliding glass door for 2weeks now.
    My girls are 9 months and have had no issues until recently. We did place an infrared heat lamp in the coop when temps dipped to the single digits to keep water from freezing and to aid in coop temperature since ours is not insulated. I have seen no predator as we live in a subdivision (backyard chicken) and I have been checking my chickens and the coop for mites, but I see no evidence of them. The last two nights I Have picked them all up and placed them in the coop with some extra vegetables as incentive, but in 10 minutes they are back on the step. They have been covered in frost most mornings and I don't think gnat can be good for them.. Any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  128. TheChickenChick1/17/14, 8:53 AM

    After you place them in the coop, close the door so they can't get out. Then keep them confined to the coop and run for a few weeks as described in this article.

    ReplyDelete
  129. I have coop chickens and also a random wild flock that showed up a couple of years ago and live down by the barn. They roost in trees and lay in assorted areas. I have found some eggs in our feed room and made some laying boxes for them, but they are so inconsistent. If they lay in the grass then I know the dogs are eating them. Is there a trick to getting them to lay where I want them too? I could never put them up. They can fly! LOL I have tried using fake eggs in nests, but they just lay where they want.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Raised together since day old chicks, I recently separated the pair of guineas from my 2 hens & had to retrain them who lives where. But by coaxing them with treats, I can now get them to go into their respective coops without much trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  131. TheChickenChick2/6/14, 9:50 PM

    Nope. If they cannot be confined, they cannot be trained to lay where you want them to.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Our neighbors 2 chickens seemed to like our yard better so we started taking care if them. We have had them for about 8 months now but are giving them away because of a city ordinance. We did not have a coop but my husband fixed a container with a door and it's on top of a cart on our patio. They each go in there during the day to lay an egg and at night they sit on top of the container until I pick them up and put in the container. During cold weather we have blankets on it to keep them warm. When they see me they come running, mostly because I give them sunflower kernel seeds. Will they adapt to their new owners and surroundings? The new owners have other chickens and they keep them for eggs, they do not eat the chickens. They live on 75 acres and the chickens will be in a 200'x200' fenced in yard which is much larger than my yard.They have a big sturdy coop and a dog they have trained to keep raccoons away. They put the chickens in coop at night. They have grand kids that help feed them. Will they be ok?

    ReplyDelete
  133. Kathy Kamo2/8/14, 7:52 PM

    We are having to give up our 2 chickens because of city ordinance. They belonged to our neighbor but they liked our yard better. They run to me when I get home because they know I will give them sunflower seed kernels. Will they adjust well with new owner? The new home is on 75 acres and will be in a 200'x200' fenced in are with a big sturdy coop. Our yard is a typical city backyard. At dusk they jump up on top of the container they sleep in and look our window. They lay eggs but they are like pets to me. I'm just worried that they won't adjust so I need advice. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  134. Kathy Kamo2/8/14, 8:03 PM

    I have to give my 2 chickens away after 8 months. They a big chickens and they lay eggs. They are like my pets so it's hard to give them up. We have a typical city backyard. The new owner lives on 75 acres and the chickens will be with other chickens in a 200'x200' fenced in backyard. Will the chickens adjust okay? They run to me when I come home because they know I will give them sunflower seed kernels as a treat. I just need advice on if they will be ok. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  135. I have 4 chickens about 19 weeks old. when do I put a fake eggs in their nest box.Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  136. TheChickenChick2/9/14, 9:03 PM

    I don't know why they wouldn't be okay, Kat.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Robert Hartman2/19/14, 7:12 PM

    Really enjoy your site! I started my flock with 20 chickens...19 hens and one rooster and purchased them at 7 weeks of age and they are now 13 weeks old.. They have been in the coop ever since and I have been wanting to let them explore the great outdoors. They don't seem to want to leave the coop (chicken Hilton). I have intended to let them "free range" in my 3 acre yard eventually. Is it to early to encourage this? If not, how long should I leave the chicken door open each day to allow them to explore? Do they need a run or can they get acquainted with the yard right away?

    ReplyDelete
  138. TheChickenChick2/20/14, 7:40 PM

    Leave the door open and let them have access to the run only for a few weeks before free-ranging.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Chicken run2/27/14, 1:43 PM

    Hi I have 2 commercial brown hybrids and they are not laying we've had them since Tuesday and is now Thursday night I was just wondering what I could do to help them in the process ??? Is it the move that has stressed them ???

    ReplyDelete
  140. TheChickenChick2/27/14, 10:47 PM

    Probably, but there are lots of other possible contributing factors. This should help you get an ide of what they are: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/decrease-in-egg-production-causes.html

    ReplyDelete
  141. Rachel Lindsay3/1/14, 6:01 PM

    Hi Kathy, Is it OK to source tree branches for the girls to roost on? as our coop is quite small, do i have to make sure there is two at different heights for pecking order purposes or can thye just snuggle up together? Thanks, Rach

    ReplyDelete
  142. TheChickenChick3/2/14, 7:19 PM

    Not for inside the coop. You want them roosting on something wide and flat like a 2x4.

    ReplyDelete
  143. New to chickens...My six girls are around 4 months old, of different varieties. My coop has a large section with 3 nesting boxes and an attached run. They seems to be great coop mates, but since they are still so little, they do not roost on the limb or the 2 x 4 that I have in the upstairs in the coop. They go up each night on their own, but they still huddle together instead of using the limbs. I have tried to put them up on the roosts, but I have a hard time reaching them. Will they just do it when they get a little bigger?

    ReplyDelete
  144. Loree Brown3/5/14, 8:50 PM

    Wow...people have always told me nothing flat...glad I seen this! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  145. TheChickenChick3/6/14, 8:00 PM

    You'll have to use your judgment with your set up Nancy. Personally, with only 8 chickens, I would get rid of four of the nest boxes- they do not need that many. Four hens per nest is the recommendation. You'll free up some space that way.

    ReplyDelete
  146. Susan Hughes3/13/14, 10:55 AM

    HELP! Hen has just shown up in our front yard. This is week two. We put out a box w/ nest and roost post (off ground) yesterday and have started feeding her there. I started "laying food" two days ago. So far, she hasn't flown up to her home. There is no pen. Will she locate her home eventually? Also, when do I need to start worrying over eggs being in different places? Also, can egg sit one or two days (if I don't find it) and still be "fresh" to eat? Clearly I don't know what I'm doing. However, she is a lovely hen and I love critters so I'm happy for her to be here.

    ReplyDelete
  147. I am attempting to move my Roo and two hens to a new coop. So, I am splitting the flock by leaving three buffs in what I hope will be the brooding coop. Do I need to lock the Roo and girls in the new coop for a few weeks so that they know this is where they are supposed to go at night? Can I expect this to work at all?

    ReplyDelete
  148. TheChickenChick3/26/14, 10:42 PM

    I would definitely keep them confined to the new coop for a while until they get comfortable knowing that it's their new home.

    ReplyDelete
  149. I am having trouble with my 3 hens, they sleep in the nest box. I go out and place them on their perches, sometimes 3/4 times per night. The coop wouldn't be easy to separate the nest box off. They are 22 weeks old but not yet laying, could this be the reason? They are free range during the day.

    ReplyDelete
  150. TheChickenChick3/27/14, 10:23 PM

    My guess is that they have developed the habit and are now comfortable with it.

    ReplyDelete
  151. hello. I have a question and wondered if anyone can help. I have two backyard chicks they have a run about 9 ft long but not very wide so i try to let them out in the garden alot. generally they are pretty happy chicks as they have food and water on tap almost... but recently the newer of the two has decided she doesnt want to come out the coop. I have picked her up and had a look and she seems perfectly healthy and happy but she still wont leave her little spot in the coop... now it is the change of seasons here at the moment so i am not sure if thats the reason but she just seems really down....

    ReplyDelete
  152. TheChickenChick3/29/14, 1:12 AM

    It sounds as if she may be broody. Read this and see if you think it fits: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/05/broody-breaker-when-hens-mood-to-hatch.html

    ReplyDelete
  153. Lord Fotherington-Carstaires3/31/14, 6:42 PM

    Hello, we are the proud owners of some spiffing Hamburg Cocks. To our dismay the blighters simply won`t roost where we want them too. We have a devine Bouganvellia which the damn Cocks have decided to roost in the swine. Suggestions to date include the sublime to the ridiculous, some damn fool suggested water bombs and removing limbs. Honestly, rather churlish don`t you think, it isn't the bloody grouse season you know, anyway, any ideas would be simply wonderful, off now to prune the lavender, hopefully devoid of Cocks, toodlepip!!

    ReplyDelete
  154. Hello I have four chooks in a secure run ( 24 foot by 24 foot all sides and roof secure) (within the secure run is their coop)
    For a year they have taken then selves off to bed at dark and I have simply closed the door of coop, letting out to roam in secure run in the day.......
    .This past week they do not want to go into to coop to sleep!!!!! they are laying in the coop and seem relaxed but they seem to want to sit on top of coop at nigh..t not go in .... Is this due to a fright and they want to stay as high as possible at night ???? or is it because the evenings are much warmer now and as they are in a secure area they are happy to sleep outdoors?????????

    ReplyDelete
  155. TheChickenChick4/4/14, 10:04 PM

    It's hard to know, Reen.

    ReplyDelete
  156. PineTreeCoop4/5/14, 7:30 PM

    Hi! First time chicken mom here. Gonna get 8 baby chicks at the farm store next week. My question is about moving them outdoors at age 5-8 weeks. According to your coop-training instructions I am not to do it if the temp inside the coop exceeds 70 degrees. I live ijust north of Boston and the weather is so unpredictable for May. How am I to be sure it won't go above 70? What if it does?

    ReplyDelete
  157. TheChickenChick4/6/14, 8:29 PM

    That recommendation was really for older birds who can suffer from heat stroke and heat stress in temps above 85°F. The chicks should be fine in the coop at that age. If it turns out that summer arrives early, just let them out into the run, but don't let them free-range for the first month or so.

    ReplyDelete
  158. I have some very stubborn chickens. Banty's that roost on top of the coop and eggs all over the place. It is like a easter egg hunt daily. We have done the retraining by locking them in for a week plus. Eventually they go back to laying in the barn. I know that I should leave them in there longer. Just recently they went on an eating strike and I ended up letting them out. I felt sorry for them

    ReplyDelete
  159. Margo Giunta4/7/14, 10:42 AM

    You have so much information and answers for any question I can imagine. Why have you not written a book? I know many, many of us would LOVE it!

    ReplyDelete
  160. Totally disagree! We have hair, doesn't mean we should sleep in 30 degree weather! We put heat lamps in our coop. Our girls are fine. Where I live we had below 0 temps. So we made a coop inside our mud room for a few months and are now letting them back outside slowly. They went to their coop, so they remember and are familiar with it..

    ReplyDelete
  161. Jada Turner4/7/14, 11:48 AM

    My chickens have never used roost bars they sleep in the middle row of nest boxes and use bottom row for egg laying they don't even use the perches I have I their run is this bad I clean the shelf they sleep on each morning

    ReplyDelete
  162. We have eight girls that love to hang out in their Coops during the day and when they are laying. We built a garage size aviary surrounding their entire Coops and run made of aviary cloth to protect them from predators and keep them out of our veggie garden. But each evening they roost on top of each coop roof. There are three Coops.. Plenty of inside room for them. They only roost inside when it rains or snows. Coops are clean inside and out.. Not sure why they insist on doing this. It's been two years now.

    ReplyDelete
  163. Fantastic article! So helpful for me as a new flock leader!

    ReplyDelete
  164. I have eight new chickens got them as chicks they are almost
    three months old I tried to put them with my older chickens its only two of
    them they pecked my new chickens so bad one almost died. I have removed the two
    older chickens to another area how can I put them together without any of the
    younger chickens getting hurt? Help!

    ReplyDelete
  165. Allie Wiley4/8/14, 1:57 PM

    Should anything be done about chickens that dont roost, but prefer to sleep on the floor of the coop? They are only about 5 weeks old maybe they just do not have the roosting instinct yet?

    ReplyDelete
  166. TheChickenChick4/8/14, 9:07 PM

    Thanks Samantha. :)

    ReplyDelete
  167. TheChickenChick4/8/14, 9:12 PM

    Try this: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html

    ReplyDelete
  168. TheChickenChick4/8/14, 9:19 PM

    Try this method, Paige, but don't rush it. It always works for me: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html

    ReplyDelete
  169. I have a mini flock of four 1 yr. old layers. One of them died last week from toxicity to something. The habitual broody one was sleeping in the nest and the other two perched at night. After separating the broody one in a cage with a perch for 2 nights, she is now active again but still sleeping in the nest. Since she rejoined the other 2, they are ALL now sleeping in the nest. It's been almost a week. Is this a grief response? Nest box is close to ground and perches are about 15" high.

    ReplyDelete
  170. TheChickenChick4/10/14, 8:39 PM

    Possibly.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Can I move my 4 week old chicks outside in the enclosed coop for coop training?
    We have no other chickens, just our first 5 chicks and a backyard chicken tractor/coop. Missouri temps range ( 40-80 ish) I can put a heat lamp in there and it would seem nicer than the chick condo/ cardboard box in the laundry room. I occasionally take them outside on warm days and they are hard to get back in. Your article about taming a brooder bully worked perfectly, as did the chicken nipples! Thanks for the help!!

    ReplyDelete
  172. What a wonderful site, thank you so much for all the useful information!

    We have 2 older chickens who free range during the day, we've recently hatched 4 new chicks and will be trying to introduce them to the other girls in a few weeks.

    I've read your article on coop training and it all seems fine except I cannot understand what to do with the older chickens at night when they want to return to the coop? Do I simply let them in with the younger ones? Will this cause problems and result in pecking at night? Or do I have to keep the older ones separately until the young ones are familiarised with the coop?

    ReplyDelete
  173. TheChickenChick4/17/14, 6:48 PM

    I would recommend waiting a couple of weeks until the low temps are in the 50s at night.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Thank you for the information

    ReplyDelete
  175. Linda Taggart4/25/14, 11:13 AM

    What do you do when the chicks are old enough/ready to move to the coop during summer? I'm afraid temps might be very warm and, while fans and windows can help, I don't want to roast my layers!

    ReplyDelete
  176. Linda Taggart4/25/14, 11:15 AM

    Can you cover the nest box openings so they can't get in?

    ReplyDelete
  177. TheChickenChick4/25/14, 11:16 AM

    Absolutely.

    ReplyDelete
  178. Carol Bridgers-Marino4/25/14, 12:09 PM

    I am new to raising chickens, but I understand the reason for the 2 x 4 is to ensure that they keep their feet warm by sitting on them, whereas a round roost they wrap their toes around it, therefore leaving the toes exposed. Correct me if I am wrong ChickenChick.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Michelle jones4/25/14, 1:19 PM

    I have 2 chickens the one we had for 5 weeks she is 8 maths old and reduced her from a chicken ( battery) farm, she has settled in well but still sleeps in nesting box at night I have put leitrrs bottles of water on nest box to discourage her frm sleeping there but she still squeezes in there and finds any tiny corner to sleep. My other is on her perch at night and when I did block off nest box she still slept on floor in roosting attractive and not on perch. I felt sorry for her and have let her to sleep in nesting Aretha, help wat can I do? Don't no wat to do for the best she,s laying alriye in nesting box.

    ReplyDelete
  180. Cassie N. Jasper Schonfield4/25/14, 3:49 PM

    Very informative Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  181. TheChickenChick4/25/14, 10:39 PM

    Are they laying eggs yet? If not, simply block off the nest boxes. If they are laying, close the nest boxes mid afternoon when everyone has laid their eggs for the day. If they huddle on the floor, put them up on the roosts after dark every night until they begin roosting on their own. Be sure to open the nest boxes very early the next morning if they are laying.

    ReplyDelete
  182. TheChickenChick4/25/14, 10:41 PM

    You're correct, Carol!

    ReplyDelete
  183. Michelle Eller McKim4/26/14, 12:52 AM

    I have nest boxes...and they are recessed so the hens can't poop on them or use them as perches. The nest boxes stay clean since I did this...but all of my hens are laying on the floor....in the corner, under the rabbit cages (I have rabbit cages on one wall of my coops) and even in the middle of the floor. I am getting weary of having to get on my hands and knees to collect eggs from under the cages or picking up eggs off the floor where they may get soiled. Suggections?

    ReplyDelete
  184. HELP!!! I have some chickens about 2 years and some chicks about 15 weeks and some 12 weeks how can I introduce them to each other. I one in each group that is mean and hurts the other. PLEASE HELP!!!

    ReplyDelete
  185. Thank you for the advice. You are always so helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  186. TheChickenChick4/26/14, 12:20 PM

    This is what you need to do: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2011/06/integrating-new-flock-members-playpen.html

    ReplyDelete
  187. Andrea Joseph5/8/14, 6:04 AM

    Is it ok that my chickens don't sleep on their roosts? They huddle together in the corner. 6 wks old.

    ReplyDelete
  188. Train them to roost- it's not good for them to sleep in piles of their own excrement.

    ReplyDelete
  189. Andrea Joseph5/9/14, 6:35 AM

    Oh I agree. Thanks for the confirmation.

    ReplyDelete
  190. Does anyone know why my one laying hen will not come out of the laying bin? She has been in there for three days now? She looking healthy and makes a coo when she sees me but will not come out? Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  191. Crissy Begin5/16/14, 11:57 AM

    Are there estimated times for "mid-afternoon" and "very early"? When is the peak time the chickens lay?

    ReplyDelete
  192. Tammy Kessler5/16/14, 1:15 PM

    Eek!!! How do u train them to roost?? I've noticed mine get under the lamp, or last night they were gathered at the door at the coop, but never on the roost.

    ReplyDelete
  193. I have had my 2 chickens 3 weeks now and they haven't started laying yet they sleep in there nest boxes and there at laying point will they still lay I don't no if its ok to block it off I don't want to stress them they are free range back yard

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...