5 Big Reasons Why Chickens Won’t Go Into the Coop

WHY CHICKENS WON'T GO INTO COOP

A chicken coop should be a safe and healthy environment for your flock to retreat to at night and roost. If your chickens used go into the coop and all of sudden just stopped, something is wrong. There are 5 big reasons why chickens won’t go into the coop.

1. Chicken Coop is Dirty

A dirty chicken coop can breed bacteria that is harmful to your chickens health. It can also be very harmful for them to be cooped up in because of the overpowering ammonia fumes.

You should be able to open up your chicken coop door and not be overpowered with stinky fumes. If you are maintaining your chicken coop, it should never smell.

WHY CHICKENS WON'T GO INTO THE COOP
CHICKENS WILL STOP GOING INTO THE COOP IF IT THE SMELL OF AMMONIA IS TOO STRONG.

If you open the coop door and smell ammonia, this means that you either need to clean the chicken coop or if you are using the deep litter method, this means it is time to add 3-4″ of bedding.

Chickens are locked up in the coop all night long. If they are smelling ammonia fumes or having to be cooped up in a coop that is filled with harmful bacteria, it can have harmful affects on them.

Common Diseases a Chicken Coop Can Harbor

  • Salmonella (Bacterial)
  • Campylobacter (Bacterial)
  • E. coli (Bacterial)
  • Exotic Newcastle Disease (Viral)
  • Histoplasmosis (Fungal)

All of these chicken diseases can be passed to humans through feces and inhaling of dust particles. Take extra care when cleaning out your chicken coop!

2. Predators

Do you have nighttime predators that are getting into your chicken coop? This will definitely stop your chickens from wanting to roost in the coop.

Checkoff List for a Secure Chicken Coop

  • Check to make sure your automatic chicken coop door is opening and closing properly.
  • Make sure you don’t have any snakes or mice hiding in the coop bedding. Use a long handled rake to move the bedding around.
  • Check for any chewed electrical wires in the chicken coop walls. This can be a sign that a rat or mouse is visiting.
  • Check for any predator poop.
  • Do you have any cracks in the walls that a predator is getting in through?
  • Are the windows secure with hardware cloth?
  • Make sure entire perimeter of the coop has hardware cloth that is secure.
  • Make sure that your chicken coop door closes completely.

Common Chicken Predators

Depending upon where you live, your may deal with different chicken predators. These are just the most common.

TOP 10
CHICKEN
PREDATORS
1. RACCOON
2. BIRDS OF PREY
HAWK, OWL, EAGLE
3. DOG
4. FOX
5. COYOTE
6. WEASLE
7. MINK
8. OPPOSSUM
9. RAT, MOUSE
10. SNAKE
TOP 10 CHICKEN PREDATORS

3. Bullying in the Coop

You have a nice, clean chicken coop and you have inspected for any predators that may have gotten in. How are the dynamics within your flock? Bullying is more common than you think, but needs nipped in the bud before blood is drawn.

WHY CHICKENS WON'T GO INTO THE COOP
CHECK FOR BULLYING IN YOUR CHICKEN COOP

How to Check for Chicken Coop Bullying

  • Do you have a few that may be fighting to be higher on the pecking order?
  • Listen to your flock when they are retreating to the coop at night. Are they spending quite a bit of time fighting for the highest roosting spot? Are they getting knocked down?
  • Check for bald spots on the back of chickens, closer to the tail. Sometimes chickens will peck at the chicken in front of them when they are roosting. Try spacing the roosting bars a little more so this can’t occur.
  • Install video cameras and watch your flock when they are settling for the night. If you can pick out the bully, isolate him. Sometimes a little “chicken jail” is all they need to knock them down a few notches in the pecking order.

4. Parasites are in the Chicken Coop

Parasites can hide in many places inside the chicken coop. Check your nesting boxes and underneath roosting bars. These are two very common and favorite places that parasites like to hide.

How to Get Rid of Parasites in a Chicken Coop

  1. Parasites are tiny and can hide in the cracks or crevices of your chicken coop. You will need to remove all bedding and do a thorough deep cleaning of the coop and your entire flock. Read my article, 5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Mites on Chickens-Naturally.
  2. Sprinkle some Nesting Box Herbs into the Hen Nesting Boxes. This not only will help deter parasites, but it will also help to encourage egg laying!
  3. You can also use the same herbs to scatter in the coop, chicken run and dust bathing areas to kill parasites.
  4. Sprinkle some Diatomaceous Earth in the nesting boxes, chicken coop floor and dust bathing areas. This will kill the parasites.
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Common Chicken Parasites

  • Mites
  • Lice
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Flies
  • Bed Bugs

5. Location of Chicken Coop Has Changed

Have you changed the location of your chicken coop? This is especially common if you have a chicken tractor that you periodically move around your property.

Chickens are creatures of habit. They get used to where the coop is and where to go to roost at night. Moving their home, even if it is very close, can confuse them.

TIPS FOR MOVING A CHICKEN TRACTOR
ONLY MOVE THE COOP FAR ENOUGH TO GIVE THE CHICKENS FRESH PASTURE.

Tips for Moving a Chicken Coop Tractor

  • If you can, only move the coop far enough to give the chickens fresh pasture. This way, they are less likely to huddle up together, just 20 feet from their newly moved chicken tractor. They will do this!
  • One very good suggestion that I have found helps, is to temporarily leave a light on in the coop.
  • Have this light set on timer or turn it off once they are all inside.
  • Once they get used to where there coop is, remove the coop light.

CONCLUSION: 5 Big Reasons Why Chickens Won’t Go Into the Coop

5 BIG REASONS WHY
CHICKENS WON’T GO
INTO THE COOP
1. CHICKEN COOP IS DIRTY
2. PREDATORS HAVE BEEN
IN THE COOP
3. BULLYING IN THE
CHICKEN COOP
4. PARASITES IN THE
CHICKEN COOP
5. YOU MOVED THE
CHICKEN COOP

Backyard Chickens Mama - About Me - Get your chickens laying more eggs. Basket full of eggs with 3 hens.

About the Author

Jenny is a chicken enthusiast and has raised a variety of different breeds of chickens in her Northern California backyard for the past 25 years. She enjoys using incubators to incubate and hatch fertile chicken eggs so she can raise baby chicks from day 1. Some of her favorites include Crested Cream Legbars, Marans, Silkies, Orpingtons and Olive Eggers. These breeds make a beautiful basket of farm fresh eggs! Both she and her husband built their own chicken coop and she and her Dad built her current chick brooder. Jenny likes to share tips and tricks that she has learned over the years to make it easier for others to raise happy, healthy and productive chickens. Just last year, Jenny released a Special 9 Herb Chicken Nesting Box Blend that helps to increase hen egg production as well as keep chickens happy and healthy. And this year she released Cooling Herbs for Chickens that helps to lower chicken core body temperature during extreme heat.