Getting your chickens back to their coop at night can be a nightmare sometimes. However, with the right approach, your pet birds can master the new routine sooner than expected. In other terms, chickens are habitual creatures able to adjust to a new schedule with little effort.
As we all know, chicken coops keep them safe at night from pesky predators. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that your birds return to safety before danger strikes.
Of course, several factors make fowls reluctant to return to their coops. This piece will delve deeper into the main reasons that make poultry hesitant to return to their cages.
Why do Chickens Don’t Return to The Coop?
Some farmers spend loads of money and time on building a luxury coop for their birds. Thus, it can be pretty frustrating if your pet friends display reluctance to step back to their luxurious quarters at night.
On that account, we will take time to unearth the main reasons why chickens reject their coops at night.
– Too Young
Like other living creatures, young ones may take slightly longer to become accustomed to a new routine. In such a scenario, you may notice that young chicks from the brooder may not automatically understand that the coops would be their new homes henceforth.
The new transition would automatically result in some reluctance for frightening little chicks that have lived entirely in the brooder.
The easiest remedy revolves around patiently taking time to introduce your birds to their new shelters. If possible, keep them within the coop for at least three to four days before allowing them out. It would be prudent to observe the weather before keeping your chicks enclosed for long durations.
As expected, you would not shut them up in a coop during scorching summer months. Within a short time, your birds will get used to their sleeping quarters and may not have trouble returning to them at night.
– New Coop
Young chicks may not be the only ones finding it tough to adjust to a new environment. In truth, older birds introduced to a new coop may also exhibit some reluctance. Basically, it may take time for chickens to identify with their new surroundings, whether young or not. Like young chicks, you may have to lock your older birds inside the coop for a couple of days.
Strictly, ensure that the flock is well fed during the stint by providing plenty of water and food. You may also have to take extra precautions to ensure that your birds do not fight aggressively.
While common brawls prompted by the pecking order are nothing unusual, watch out for excessive harm on the weaker birds. The beauty about caging your birds for two to three days enables them to get used to coop scent faster. That way, it becomes less strenuous convincing them to associate with their new home.
– Pests and Predators
An invasion of predators or pests instantly keeps chickens away from their coops. Bear in mind that most predators attack in the deep of the night. Instinctively, your birds may refuse to return to an enclosure that exposes them to any form of danger.
In addition, pests like lice, mice, rats, and mites would undeniably make their stay in the coop uncomfortable. Therefore, they would do anything possible to steer clear of infected coops.
Nonetheless, you can come up with a solution around the matter by first identifying the pests in your backyard. For mites and rats, strive to block all entry points in the walls, vents, ceiling, or floorboards. Note that any opening bigger than ½ inch can allow easy pest accessibility.
Take into account that you still have to get rid of rodents already in the coop. Luckily, there are several types of mice or snake traps in the market that can exterminate the pests without posing a risk to your flock. On the other hand, invest in a safe insecticide to repel and eradicate bugs.
One common reason your birds refuse to get into the coop is when an aggressive one often picks on meek counterparts. Bullying may be a result of standard pecking order or from a rather boisterous bird.
In some cases, the introduction of new chickens in an established flock can worsen the situation. Either way, common signs of chicken bullying include missing feathers, bruises, physical fights, and shoves during feeding time.
In such circumstances, forcing affected chickens into the coop may not be the best decision. Instead, seek an alternative isolation spot for any bird that appears in pain or wounded. Once healed and healthy, consider reintroducing them back if necessary.
All in all, do not force aggressive birds to stay together. The bottom line is that not all chicken species get along well with others. If the matter worsens, consider harvesting the most insistent birds for a peaceful coexistence.
Even without a rooster in the flock, your hens will get broody once in a while. This is because broodiness is a hormonal condition that guarantees continuity of life. Still, some species quickly go broody, like Orpingtons and Silkies compared to others.
On regular occasions, hens prefer nesting in dark corners of the coop. Nevertheless, there are selected cases where a hen can hide in the weirdest places, such as under the porch. This happens because the soon-to-be mother gets naturally drawn to the safest spots for her babies.
When this happens, carrying your hen back to their coop remains the best solution. If this fails, consider keeping all birds inside for a few days to allow your broody hens to settle well in the cage. Surprisingly, once the broodiness fades away, your stubborn hen may start returning to the coop without much cajoling.
Lure Your Chickens in Coop at Night
At the end of the day, you must figure out one convenient way to entice your birds in the coop with less trouble. Below are the most preferred tips used to lure chickens to their enclosures at night.
– Food and Treats
Enticing your chickens with food and favorite treats remains one of the easiest tricks. Start by throwing small amounts of their preferred food close to the coop entrance. Then, carefully creep behind and slowly shoo them inside the coop.
Altogether, chickens are intelligent creatures and sometimes not easy to please. Therefore, focus on giving them an irresistible food treat for a less complicated coaxing. Shut the door immediately the last bird gets inside to avoid repeating the process all over.
– Keep a Routine
One fantastic trait about chickens is their capability to follow simple routines. In addition, they are fast learners and tend to stick to a schedule for the rest of their lives. With this knowledge, introduce an evening custom where you send them back the coop at a particular hour.
Unknown to most people, poultry has poor night vision, which may aggravate the issue further. Thus, coerce them to their enclosures slightly before the sun sets when they can still find their way to the coop. The best time is around six in the evening daily.
If your feathered friends are still free-roaming at that hour, find ways of gathering them up. Without any doubt, the easiest way to win them over is by offering a sumptuous evening snack to trap them inside.
– Sound Training
Sound training is one vital skill that helps farmers manage their flock better. The process starts by coming up with a sound that your birds can quickly identify. Thankfully, most fowls have an impeccable hearing capability. This comes in handy when gathering your flock together during bedtime.
Any sound can play the role well as long as you remain consistent. By this, we mean that you should avoid introducing different sounds to your birds simultaneously. Overall, investing in a ringing bell is never a bad idea.
Then, frequently ring it when rewarding your chickens for impressive behavior. The brighter side of this approach is that your flock may always associate the sound with a particular reward. The bell becomes the best signal for your birds to get accustomed to return-to-coop moments in the long run.
– Give them Light
As mentioned above, chickens struggle to see in the dark. Installing lights inside the coop would then work like magic to entice them inside. A fluorescent nine-watt bulb would work just fine to create the much-needed attention.
Then connect it with a reliable timer that turns on the light when darkness strikes. Another advantage of this tactic is that more light in the coop augments egg-laying hormones, thus increasing productivity.
You may have one of the most amazing coops with perfect nesting boxes and perches. Yet, that may not convince your flock to return to their coops at night. The secret lies in encouraging your flock to use their enclosures often.
We have also mentioned essential tricks and tips for rewarding results. Try them out and witness a more enjoyable process of getting your chickens to return to their coop effortlessly.Chickens