Crescent_Rose_Fan
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Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

Hi guys, I need advice because my chickens won't roost in the coop anymore. I have 12 chickens and none of them will roost in their coop. I believe part of that is because one night I forgot to lock the end of their run and a raccoon attacked a hen that was laying an egg (really it was more early morning but you know what I mean it's still dark). Now I have trouble getting all in the coop in the day even with food because I have hens sleeping in the day! They roost in the broken windows of the barn, on car tires ( no joke) , on the fence, now even our hay elevator, wood splitter,and hay rake have been taken over! :roll: I would really love it someone could help me out and I'll try to get some pics tomorrow if they will help and they are kinda funny too :lol:. I should also tell you that they are free range and that last time I managed to lock them in they found a way out that I'm too short to put something up there to block it.

imafan26
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

Sounds like they don't feel safe in the coop. I can't blame them.
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Crescent_Rose_Fan
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

Can't say I blame them either but they aren't exactly any safer where they are roosting now either. My sister and I were outside at dark playing with kittens at the back steps when we heard a chicken in distress not ten minutes after checking on them, found out a raccoon pulled a hen down from her roost. Sis chased it down but we didn't have a gun to shoot it and it stopped at the end of the runway. The hen is fine btw though.

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applestar
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

I’ve never kept chickens so I can’t help, but please post the photos — I wanna see! :>

All kidding aside, intuitively, it sounds like you would have to re-train them and condition them to feel comfortable/safe in the coop again? I would imagine that it’s actually not safe for them to be scattered everywhere in not-secured locations, and there are advantages to having the chickens automatically return to the coop on some kind of signal - sundown or even some kind of man-made signal (if such a thing is possible).

I train my cats to come to whistle. They do it because it’s signal that they get a special treat, and they will jump up and scramble to assemble in the kitchen even deep asleep ... or outside in the far corner of the yard (to the patio by the kitchen door). It has been useful especially when we are worried about them but can’t find them.

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Oops you posted while I was composing my message. I’ll post this anyway. :wink:
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Nobody
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

If you haven't cleaned your coop out good you need to. I'm not sure how well chickens can smell but I know it will make a difference. Put fresh straw down, always makes things smell better and feel more homey and safe. Put the straw around the outside of the coop to.

Last week a diamond back snake got into our chickens nest. Didn't kill any of the chickens just ate the eggs that were getting ready to hatch. They wouldn't go back in until things were cleaned out good.
Hope this helps.

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applestar
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

Raccoons are the WORST btw — right up there with groudHOGS (for veggie garden/fruit orchard).

I’m in ex-rural area turned suburbia with pockets of wooded areas where raccoons, even beavers are still around. But there are still enough farms in the area where they are allowed to kill marauding animals that threaten their crop. In my residential zoned property, it’s borderline whether I’m even allowed to trap “wildlife” let alone kill them. So my usual has to be, to increase protective fencing/netting and scares and motion sensor lights and alarms until they go bother the farms.

You’ll find me peeping out of the windows in the middle of the night for possible raccoon raids, and during the day for groundHOGs, and during the dawn and evening twilight for both. :x At least the groudHOGs will run if I just make loud noises, raccoons with their masked faces will look up at the window, and I’m sure if I could see clearly in the dark, are thumbing their noses (or making worse gestures with their opposable thumbs and hand-like paws). :evil:
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

We haven't had this problem. But they are safer locked up in the coop at night. Our chickens free range our back yard a lot of the day (2-3 hrs in the morning and the same again in the afternoon). Yesterday they were attacked by some very large bird, possibly a cooper's hawk. Fortunately the chickens made a ton of noise and flapping and ran under the deck and they were all ok. But it is a dangerous world out there for big heavy birds that don't run very fast or fly very well.

When we first got them as little chicks we had to train them to go up on the roosting bars at night. We just physically put them there every night and closed the door so they had to stay in there. Didn't take very long for them to get used to it. Then we left the door open, so they could come down into the coop and run (all enclosed and protected from predators) first thing in the AM for food and water, without us having to get up and release them. You might need to do something like that again.

Our chickie ladies are also trained to come to us. We get little bags of mixed seed and fruit treats that they love. They know the sound of the bag being shaken and come running. They also know the bags are stored in the shed and come running to the shed if we walk towards it. At this point, they come running to us to be petted anyway, regardless of treats and follow us around the yard. They are very curious about us and like to come up on the deck and peek in through the glass door and see what we are doing. One in particular would love to be a house chicken, but we aren't ready to deal with chicken diapers! :) (They actually make such a thing, so I guess some people must have indoor chickens!).

And if there is a way out of the coop, you have to get someone to help you seal it up. The chickens do like to pop out of any available hole.
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Crescent_Rose_Fan
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

I have some pics from a few days ago so I'll give those to you guys. My sis helped herd the flock back to the coop (straw hats are great for herding my chickens :lol: ). I have a feeling they will get out but I'll try to keep them in. I will be cleaning the coop too, but not today I have a wedding to attend :cry: .
2nd Hen on tire resized.jpg
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Sorry the last pic is so blurry but just to clarify those are indeed four hens roosting on a broken window

Crescent_Rose_Fan
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

rainbowgardener wrote:We haven't had this problem. But they are safer locked up in the coop at night. Our chickens free range our back yard a lot of the day (2-3 hrs in the morning and the same again in the afternoon).

When we first got them as little chicks we had to train them to go up on the roosting bars at night. We just physically put them there every night and closed the door so they had to stay in there. Didn't take very long for them to get used to it. Then we left the door open, so they could come down into the coop and run (all enclosed and protected from predators) first thing in the AM for food and water, without us having to get up and release them. You might need to do something like that again.


And if there is a way out of the coop, you have to get someone to help you seal it up. The chickens do like to pop out of any available hole.
My chickens were good about coming back every night until they found a way out so I sealed that up after finding it but by then they found new roosts, so I penned them in for a few weeks again and now they found a new spot to get out. But I have to say it wasn't hard to find their eggs after they decided a medicine cabinet with a broken door makes a good nest box :>

imafan26
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

I think you have gotten some good ideas. If the racoon got in the chicken house, the chickens can probably still smell it, so cleaning out the house is a good idea. While you are at it. look for ways to secure the chicken house better to keep marauders out. You may have to put a cage around the chicken house with a fenced yard and roof as an extra barrier. If you have a herd guard dog, like a great pyrenees, it would be better. Those kinds of dogs are trained from young to live with and to treat their herd as family and protect them. Unfortunately herd guard dogs, don't herd so you will have to retrain the chickens to come in. You might bell train them. Everytime you fill their feeders, ring the bell, then feed them intermittently when the bell is rung, so they will come in when the bell sounds.
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Crescent_Rose_Fan
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Re: Chickens not roosting in coop! Please help!

imafan26 wrote:I think you have gotten some good ideas. If the racoon got in the chicken house, the chickens can probably still smell it, so cleaning out the house is a good idea. While you are at it. look for ways to secure the chicken house better to keep marauders out. You may have to put a cage around the chicken house with a fenced yard and roof as an extra barrier. If you have a herd guard dog, like a great pyrenees, it would be better. Those kinds of dogs are trained from young to live with and to treat their herd as family and protect them. Unfortunately herd guard dogs, don't herd so you will have to retrain the chickens to come in. You might bell train them. Everytime you fill their feeders, ring the bell, then feed them intermittently when the bell is rung, so they will come in when the bell sounds.
Those are good ideas and all but really don't have enough time to do most of them, but I have a border collie who 'helps' herd the chickens she puts her front paw on the chicken to get it to move when its standing still but she gets one in the coop and two out so unfortunately she is not allowed to come with me when I gather eggs or do something in the coop unless I'm rounding up the chickens and don't allow her to go in the coop. I might try the bell though it might work. I'll dig out the old cowbell (that was actually on a cow like a decade ago :hehe: )

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