I came across your sight while trying to find an answer. I am a first
time chicken owner. I have 14 hens and 2 roosters. (I bought 16 hens
in mid April and just realized that 2 are roosters). About a month
ago when I went out to secure them in the coop at night, most of the
hens were in a tree. We tried everything to get them out, but with
no luck. Now every night the 2 roosters and the same 2 hens are in
the coop, and the rest stay in the tree. How do I get them to go back
into the coop? Is it OK that they sleep in the tree?
This is tricky. Free range birds will roost in trees, but they will
all eventually be picked off by owls. In addition, you cannot provide
them with supplementary light that will keep them laying in winter.
So....how do we get those chickens back into your coop? First, you
need to build an enclosure that is roofed or at least enclosed on
top so they can’t fly the coop once you get them in there.
How much and when are you feeding them? If they have unlimited feed
all the time you will not be able to entice them. To catch them again,
feed a limited amount in the morning and set a schedule for feeding
in the late afternoon. If they’re not interested in regular
food buy cheap day old bread and tear that up, it’s a junky
treat that they love. Call them -- "Chick, chick, chick"
is what I use. Get them accustomed to coming to you for food...this
will not take long. Then start to feed in the enclosure. Once they
are in there eating, close the door and they are in for the night.
Do this consistently and they will associate the coop and enclosure
Naturally chickens love to roost high. My experience is once they
start to do it the habit may be hard to break.
In my video I talk about this a lot and recommend an enclosed run,
with netting or wire on top.
The run I have now has a small tree inside it. Once the tree gets
big enough I assume the girls will start to roost in that. ;-)
Cheers for chickens!