If this is your first time owning backyard chickens, you will have a lot of questions. One of them is what time your chickens will go into the coop to roost. At night, many predators come out to hunt. Since chickens don’t have very good eyesight at night, they are vulnerable.
When it starts to get dark, the chickens will go inside the coop to roost. They do this instinctively, since chickens don’t like to be outside when it’s dark due to poor vision.
How Do Chickens Know When To Roost?
Chickens will rarely go anywhere at night since they don’t see well at night. For that reason, they will try to find a safe place before it gets too dark.
When daylight starts to get low around dusk, the chickens will make their way into the coop to roost. This is an instinct to keep themselves safe from predators at night.
If you have free-ranging chickens, you may notice them staying closer to the coop during the evening. This is to make sure they can find their way into the coop before it gets too dark.
Establish Chickens Roosting Routine
There are times the chickens will not make their way back to the coop in time. This is especially true if you let your chickens free-range. For that reason, it’s a good idea to establish a routine for your chickens so that they are all back together and close to the coop.
One of the ways is feeding the chickens at the same time every day. This means feeding them an hour before their time to go into the coop. By establishing the same time every day, the chickens will know when to come to the coop to be fed.
Once they are fed, they will start to move into the run, and into the coop.
It’s a good idea to lock up the run once all the chickens are in there. This will prevent some of them from wandering out.
If there is still some light out, the chickens will do a bit of scratching before going inside the coop to roost.
If you don’t let your chickens free-range, you shouldn’t have any issues with them going inside to roost. As it gets dark, they will instinctively go inside the coop, where it’s safe and warm.
Chicken Roost Time In Summer
During the summer, the daylight will be longer. For that reason, chickens tend to stay outside longer. They will come out earlier in the day, which will be around 5-6 am. During the evening, it will be about 7-8 pm before they will go inside to roost.
Since the day will be longer, chickens will spend less time roosting.
Chicken Roost Time In Winter
When winter arrives, the day will become much shorter. Chickens will roost longer during this time of the year.
In the morning, the chickens may not come outside until around 7-8 am. In the afternoon, they may start to head inside the coop as early as 4-5 pm.
The exact time will depend on where you are located in the world.
What To Do If Chickens Don’t Come To Roost At Dark
There are times the chickens may not come inside their coop to roost. Chickens are sensitive creatures and will not when something doesn’t feel right to them. If there is a predator inside their coop, they will stay outside, even when it’s dark.
However, there could be other reasons as well. Some of them are listed below:
The roosting area is incorrect – Chickens like to roost on bars or a material that is elevated. You purchase roosting bars from a pet store or online. Also, you can simply make one yourself from large sticks and planks of wood.
Coop is dirty – If the coop is filthy, the chickens may go inside to roost. Give the coop a good deep cleaning if that’s the case.
Red mite infestation – Red mites are a pest for chickens. If there are too many of them, the mites will bite the chickens during the night.
If the chickens are not coming back to their coop when it’s getting dark, fill their feeders with food and call them at the same time. Usually, if one chicken sees it and comes running, the rest of the flock will follow.
The exact time the chickens will go inside their coop to roost will depend on the season. During the summer, when the day is longer, they will stay outside longer. The time they will go to roost will be late in the evening at around 7-8 pm.
On the other hand, during the winter, when the day is much shorter, chickens will head inside the coop to roost much earlier. You can see them roosting at around 5-6 pm.