How to get your chickens to return to their coop at night

Having trouble getting your chickens to return to their coop at night? Chickens have a natural instinct to return to the same safe place to roost at dusk for the night. If their coop is the most appealing place to spend the night, they’ll always return there before it gets dark.

Our top tips to ensure your chickens choose to sleep in their coop are: 


Allow new chickens time to adjust to their coop

If you’ve bought new chickens, it’s a good idea to keep them confined to their enclosed pen/run until they get used to their new home. Ideally, they shouldn’t be let out of their new pen/run for the first two weeks. This allows plenty of time to develop a routine of sleeping in the coop every night, and makes them less likely to search for an alternative roosting spot once they’re allowed to free range. 

Establish a regular routine 

Chickens thrive under a regular routine. This means letting them out of the coop at the same time every morning. If your chickens aren’t let out at the same time every morning, it can cause stress and lead to extra pecking order ruffles inside the confined coop. This stress can cause chickens to find an alternative spot to sleep outside of your coop. Installing a quality automatic chicken door, such as the Safe Coop® automatic chicken door, is the most convenient way to ensure your chickens are let out at the same time every morning. 

Install an appealing perch

Chickens are always wary of predators. They naturally want to sleep high up where they feel safe. Installing the right perch is crucial to encouraging chickens to sleep in their coop. As a general guide, the higher the perch, the safer your chickens will feel. It’s common to find rogue chickens that don’t return to their coop perching in a bushy tree many metres above the ground. This is a telltale sign the perch inside the coop isn’t right. 

Although higher perches are usually more appealing than lower perches, it's a good idea to install two perches at different heights in the coop. Older chickens with mobility issues, or hens further down the pecking order may prefer a lower perch. 

Ensure the coop is not overcrowded

An overcrowded coop can encourage chickens to find an alternative roosting spot. Ensure there is plenty of room for all the chickens to find a spot to perch. They should also have room inside the coop to get away from other chooks during pecking order disputes. 

Keep the chicken coop clean 

Replacing the bedding material (straw or wood shavings etc.) regularly to prevent a build-up of manure and damp. This will keep your chicken’s home appealing and minimise the chances of them looking for another roosting spot to avoid parasites or unhealthy chickens. 

Ensure the coop is safe from predators 

Chickens may seek a new roosting spot if they don’t feel safe at night. Ensuring predators such as foxes, feral cats, dogs, quolls and other pesky animals such as rats can’t access the coop at night will make it a safe and comfortable place for your chickens to sleep in. If the chickens have been scared by a nighttime predator entering their coop, they may be reluctant to return the next night. It’s a good idea to ensure the coop is always secured at night by installing a Safe Coop® automatic chicken door. That way, the chicken coop will be secured every night when the door automatically closes to keep nocturnal predators out of the coop and avoid them harming or spooking your chickens. You can find out more information about the Safe Coop® automatic chicken door here. 

Confine your chickens once you’ve taken the above steps

If your chickens have developed a habit of sleeping outside the coop, ensure you take all of the measures above to make your coop a safe and comfortable roosting space. Then, catch and confine all of the chickens in their pen for a few days to force them to sleep in the coop at night. Once the routine of sleeping in the safe and comfortable chicken coop has been established, they should continue to return to their coop every night after free ranging during the day.


Looking for an automatic chicken door that has EVERY advantage described above? You’ll LOVE the Safe Coop® automatic chicken door. Order online directly from Safe Coop® today.


Why choose Safe Coop®?

We’re an Australian company that designs automatic chicken doors to reliably defend your chickens from the toughest Australian predators.

Our chicken doors are made to last using quality materials including durable ASA plastics, stainless steel, aluminium, and brass. You can trust a Safe Coop® automatic chicken door to keep your flock safe every night. 

Every chicken door we sell comes with intelligent and reliable technology, allowing you to enjoy sleep-ins and go on holiday without needing to worry about your flock. 

Learn more about Safe Coop® chicken doors