How to Get Your Chickens in at Night

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Chickens often need to learn their coop is a safe, warm place to sleep.
Chickens often need to learn their coop is a safe, warm place to sleep. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Chickens come out of the coop at first light and go in at nightfall. They are a ground-dwelling bird, but like to roost off the ground. Chickens are active birds and spend much of their time outside scratching for food. If your chickens don’t return to roost at night, or in the rain and snow, the coop is most likely not to their liking. To ensure the chickens will come back at night, or in bad weather, you must have a clean, safe coop.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Feed
  • Light
  • Rake

Clean the manure box every day. Give them fresh bedding weekly. Clean the coop thoroughly every other month. Proper cleaning methods will reduce any ammonia build up, making the coop a desirable place to roost.

Maintain fresh water inside the coop: But don't give them access to water outside the coop.

Feed the chickens inside the coop. Feed them only at night and they will gladly return to the coop to eat.

Keep the chickens within a pen during the day. Limit their roaming space to a few square yards around the coop.

Turn on a light in the coop a few hours before dark. This will warm the pen. The chickens will learn to associate the light with being comfortable and fed.

Herd the chickens with a rake, if there are a few stubborn chickens that don't want to go in at night.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you continue to have trouble, lock the chickens inside a clean coop with plenty of food and water. Staying inside the coop for 24 to 48 hours will teach the chickens the coop is a safe place to be.

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