by Sally Todt
(New Concord, OH)

the coop

the coop

Our chickens are about 9 weeks old. We just moved them from a little corral in the garage to their new outdoor coop. It has chicken wire all around the top and sides of the lower level which sits directly on the ground so they can peck at the grass. There is a little ladder that leads to a fully enclosed upper level that has straw and cedar shavings. It is also a nesting area. It is nice and warm up there.

We have seen chickens climb the ladder only to come back down without going inside the upper level. Even on cold nights they huddle together in a corner of the lower level when they could be upstairs where it is toasty.

How can we get our chickens to use the upper level when they roost at night? Especially on cold nights?


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by: Sharon

Chickens are creatures of habit. When moving them to a new location, they need to learn new habits.

You'll need to start over. I'd suggest putting them inside the coop part and closing them in with their food and water at least over two nights - as long as there is some ventilation on a warm day. They will figure out where to sleep, realize it's nice and warm and safe inside the coop. After spending two nights and a day inside, let them out in the morning.

If they don't go in on their own the following evening, you'll need to catch them and put them inside. You'll just need to repeat this each evening until they all go inside about dusk.

Usually there will be one or two that are the leaders and the others will follow them into the coop for the night.

There is little shade for this coop. On hot days, they don't have much relief from the heat and sun. On warm nights they might not want to be inside the housing part unless there is very good ventilation. I've lived in Ohio and know the summer days can be very hot and humid, and the evenings can be warm, too.

The roosting area must always be a safe and comfortable place for chickens or they won't want to be there.

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