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#77994 - 10/16/07 07:46 AM won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
My three girls seem scared of the coop now that we raised it up off the ground. A mouse was starting a nest underneath, so we put the coop (aka a large dog house) on stilts. Now they won't even go in it and roost on a platform in the run, which is about the same height as the coop. What should I do?

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#77995 - 10/16/07 07:59 AM Re: won't go in the coop
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
WHen they are on the platform, at night, carry them in to the roost. You have just changed things for their routine, and after several times, they will go in on their own, especially if you feed them some scratch on the floor of the coop just before bedtime. Good luck, CJR

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#77996 - 10/23/07 12:10 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
Hi CJR,
It's not working. I put the food right inside the coop but as soon as I leave and lock the gate, they go back to roost on a platform in the run.
What else can I do? It will be cold soon, do they have enough sense to go inside a structure?

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#77997 - 10/23/07 10:59 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Hello RenB,

Quote:
What else can I do?
...
do they have enough sense to go inside a structure?
Show them!;-) I think food won´t work. I think food is not a strong enough motivation to go into the coop, I think food has nothing to do for the coop beeing associated with shelter. I think if you show them 2 or 3 times this will be enough, you need to lure/persuade them and enter the coop yourself WITH the girls. Stay in the coop with them until they settle/calm down, don´t let them go out until they have accustomed to beeing in the coop. Make them feel comfortable in the coop and they´ll soon accept it as shelter, not as a place for food. I think they must "get" the difference, if your birds once have experienced the coop as a comfortable shelter they´ll go/stay in the coop on their own, regardless if there´s food in it or not.

I think they have enough sense to look for a shelter, but their shelter need not be "your" coop, see? If they find a place to roost where they feel comfortable they´ll make this place "their" coop, if you want them to move to another coop I think you need to show them.

Again, this is what I THINK, I´m no expert. Just sharing our limited experience, hope it helps!

Best greetings,

Joachim

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#77998 - 10/24/07 09:43 AM Re: won't go in the coop
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Carry them to their new roosts when it is pitch dark (after they have settled in) so they don't go back to the platform in the run. If you take them to their new roosts when there is any hint of daylight left, then yes, they will jump down and go back to the platform. CHRIS

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#77999 - 11/03/07 07:23 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Choco Chick Offline
Chick

Registered: 08/21/07
Posts: 10
Loc: Oregon
I'm having a similar problem with the two newest hens in our group. We introduced them to the coop in the dark and they had an uneventful night there (from what we can tell). The next couple nights we had trouble getting one of them in there - she was going to the greenhouse. Then we went on vacation for two weeks (keepers being not as interested in the chickens as I am) and when we came back, the both of them were sleeping in the fruit trees.

They sleep high up in a persimmons tree now, so if I don't catch them before they go up, it will be quite an ordeal getting them down. For a moment, seeing them up there, I feel a kind of proud of them for living like their ancestors wink -- but this isn't SE Asia! We have frost on the ground in the mornings now and I'm afraid they're going to freeze to death out there. I'm going to work on the coop today and see how I can make it more inviting and then try to get those girls in there tonight. RenB, I'll let you know if I find something that works for me.

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#78000 - 11/19/07 01:20 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
The two pullets slept in the trees near the run for a couple nights. Their favorite place is still the roof of the coop. They REFUSE to go in the darn coop!!!! Every night when it gets dark, I pick each one up and place them in the coop. This involves lots of flapping and squawking. We put a box on top of the coop to keep them from roosting there but they always managed to move it slightly so they had a corner. Then we put some slanted wood that would make it uncomfortable for their feet, but they still insist on roosting there. Our next step is too hang some kind of netting. And I still haven't gotten any eggs. Sigh.

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#78001 - 11/19/07 01:52 PM Re: won't go in the coop
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Do you not have a door to your coop--to close them in, after you place them on the roost??

If not, it might be a good idea. If you lose your birds to an Owl, Hawk, other predator, you will wish you had safely confined them, at least at night!

And a nest box IN the Coop (which may be barely large enough for 3 hens, a roost, feeder and waterer)-- and is it dark inside, even in the daytime--- will be an inticement to enter the Coop.

My first Bantam house was Dog-House size, and I made a door out of a window, just the size of the opening, just added hinges and a latch, so it was all glass, light, and yet safely enclosed the 3 Bantams. They had a roost and their feeder hung on one wall, the waterer on the opposite. Only room for overnight and to enter to eat and drink,turn around and okay until let out in the morning, but cozy and safe! Good luck, CJR

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#78002 - 11/20/07 05:38 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Also, you could clip the flight feathers on one wing, just the feathers, this does them no harm and they grow back with the next molt. There is a post about this in the Beginners forum, I think. That's what I had to do a couple times to get a couple of the "wilder" hens roosting in the coop. If you trim one wing, they will not be able to fly up into the trees at night, and that coop might start looking much more inviting. A hen with a clipped wing is robbed of flight making her more prone to predators, but so much depends on your daytime situation, and they are surely in no more danger than any of the heavy flightless breeds. Also, I would think that the safety of the coop over the trees would out-weigh her vulnerability during the day.

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#78003 - 11/20/07 12:06 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
How about locking them in for a two days and then letting them out?

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#78004 - 11/20/07 04:10 PM Re: won't go in the coop
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
A Dog House may be dark, too small for 3 large hens, and birds do not like that, in fact that is possibly why they do not want to go in??? They have to have room to hop up on a roost, need to have room to turn around on the roost and move about. What kind of design is it, and can it be remodeled at all? There are some things that we do not know about this problem? CJR

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#78005 - 11/22/07 03:13 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Mau Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 650
Loc: United Kingdom
If you haven't been able to convince them after a week or two of explaining to them there must be something wrong. Have you checked to make sure there's not a cache of red mite coming out and biting them or anything else to upset them, like draughts or predators?
_________________________
Mau

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#78006 - 11/28/07 01:11 PM Re: won't go in the coop
C. Newman Offline
Chicken

Registered: 08/15/03
Posts: 96
Loc: Virginia
Confining the hens to the coop for a couple of days should get them used to roosting there. I've done this before and it's worked well.

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#78007 - 12/04/07 09:43 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
We put up chicken wire to block them from getting on top of the dog house, so now they are going in. It's a huge dog house, used previously for my 90lb lab mix, so there's plenty of room for 3 hens. There is a roost and a platform. I am questioning if it's too dark, should I drill holes to provide more light? Should I put a door on? I've hung an old curtain over the door due to the cold weather. Hopefully it blocks some wind.

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#78008 - 12/04/07 09:15 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
No, I would not put holes in it at all. Darkness allows the birds to relax and prevents them from picking out of frustration. Plus, when it is cold during the winter, those holes will allow cold air into the coop. I too have used dog-houses for my birds. Sometimes it is the best thing to use for "injured" birds that must be separated from the others. I usually use them when a momma has hatched out some chicks! smile

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#78009 - 12/05/07 07:07 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Oakie Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/30/02
Posts: 415
Loc: Oklahoma
I'd build a door on it. It gets pretty cold in Virginia.

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#78010 - 12/07/07 12:46 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
Maybe a plastic flap door, kinda like a doggie door? So they can still go in and out on their own. Or should it be something more substantial like wood? The run around the coop is completely fenced - the roof too - and I lock it at night, so I don't think the coop also needs a lock.

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#78011 - 12/07/07 03:40 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
We tried that with my geese. It didn't work very well because they were afraid of the flap blocking them from the door. We tried it with carpet, plastic, etc. Nothing worked as well as making sure all were in the coop for the night and closing the door. We use a wooden door on our coops, but that's just because we have alot of scrap wood lying around. Maybe others have had better luck with the flap on the entrance thing?

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#78012 - 12/08/07 04:56 AM Re: won't go in the coop
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Funny, a large, heavy canvas tarp is what we are using for door right now! Geese, chickens and ducks are all OK with it. We had a regular door, but the coop is not perfectly level and over the course 2 years heaving/thawing the door broke last spring. The coop was doorless all summer long and this fall we just nailed the tarp up. In the morning one of us goes out to "open the flap" and at night we "close the flap". We hang it up so the bottom corners are hooked to the top of the doorway ( regular sized door - 80" x 32" I think ), thus keeping the top of the space fully "tarped" and the lower half open so everyone comes and goes at will. Tonight temps will be around zero, but it's tight in there and they do well. The tarp is not thin plastic, though. It's about 1/4 inch thick material, heavy, kind feels likie a cross between canvas and felt.

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#78013 - 12/12/07 12:50 PM Re: won't go in the coop
Ren B. Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Virginia
Great, I like the thick fabric idea!

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