Chickens are adventurous animals that will wander off to explore every chance that they get. To keep chickens safe, they must return to their coop by sundown so they can be protected from possible predators. Getting chickens to return to their coop every evening also helps keep them from wandering too far from their space and minimizes the possibility that they will never return. Luckily, it is possible to train chickens to return to their coop. Here are four tips that will help you do just that.

chicken divider

The 4 Tips on Training Chickens To Return To Their Coops

1. Contain Your Chickens in the Coop at First

It is important to make sure that your chickens understand that their coop is their home base and where they should roost, especially at night. Keeping your chickens contained in their coop for about a week straight will reinforce the idea that the coop is their home.

The time spent in their coop will enable them to get used to the space and to create a pecking order for sleeping and egg-laying spaces. It is important to make sure that the coop feels like “home” to your chickens so they are comfortable spending time in it.

If there are no bedding or private nesting spaces to take advantage of, chances are that your chickens will not want to spend any time in the coop even for their own safety. Once your chickens have been contained in their coop for a few days, you can start to let them out in the morning and work on getting them back into the coop in the evening every day.


2. Create and Maintain a Schedule

When you start to let your chickens out of their coop for the day, it is important to create and maintain a schedule that you can stick to every day of the week. Your chickens should be able to count on leaving their coop at the same time every morning and get used to coming back to the coop at the same time before sundown.

Your chickens will get used to your daily schedule quickly and start living their days based on that schedule. They will naturally gravitate toward the coop at the same time every evening if you are there to greet them and get their coop door closed. Eventually, you will not even have to be there when the chickens go back to roost in their coop, as it will simply be routine for them.

chickens in coop
Image Credit: WFranz, Pixabay

3. Make Roosting Time Snack Time

A great way to encourage your chickens to go back to their coop when it is time to roost is to reward them with a snack as they enter. If you throw a little scratch into the coop, your chickens should quickly come running to grab their snack. Just a day or two of throwing scratch into the coop should be all that it takes to get your chickens excited about returning to their coop every single evening.

Don’t feed the chickens too much, though, as roosting time should not be a long and drawn-out mealtime. Also, you don’t want to leave enough chicken scratch out that it could attract possible predators. The chickens should be able to eat all the scratch that you throw out for them within 5 minutes or so before settling down for bed.


4. Make a Distinctive Gathering Call

When you throw scratch into the coop to encourage your chickens to go in it for the night, make a distinctive calling noise that alerts the chickens that you are waiting for them to gather. Make sure that it is a noise that you do not use at any other time except for when it’s time to head into the coop. The call can be a type of whistle, a chirp, a cluck, or even a particular word — whatever gets your chicken’s attention and does not sound like anything else they hear throughout the day.

After a while, you can stop using scratch to encourage your chickens to return to their coop and just use the call. Any time you make the call, your chickens should start making their way toward you and the door of their coop. Your call can come in handy when you need to get your chickens back in their coop earlier than usual due to threats of bad weather or predators.

new little chicken divider

Conclusion

Training your chickens to return to their coop is not an impossible task. In fact, it can be done in a relatively short amount of time if you remain consistent. Hopefully, the tips outlined here make the task of training your chickens easy and even pleasurable.


Featured Image Credit: Lalelu2000, Pixabay