Fall Back, Not Off – Keeping Your Chickens on Schedule When Daylight Savings Ends
Choosing the best routine for your flock
Bedtime. This concept is either a highly anticipated event, or an absolutely dreaded one, depending on where you are in your walk of life. But for our chickens, bedtime is something that thankfully comes 100% naturally!
And what about mornings? Some of us rise early, ready to tackle the day, while others may take some slow coaxing to get into gear. Chickens fall into the first category – in fact, if they can’t start their mornings bright and early, they will raise an almighty ruckus!
So, what does that mean for you, the chicken keeper? Whether you let them free-range during the day or choose to keep your chickens safe in a coop-run combination, your flock will always feel most secure in a closed-up coop at night. But what if you need to go on vacation? Or what if you get sick? Get home after dark? Or simply forget? (It happens to the best of us!)
Imagine a morning where your leading ladies can strut right out of the chicken coop at the crack of dawn, even if you want to sleep in. Or a night where they put themselves to bed and the door closes automatically without the help of their human caretaker (if only human kids were as easy!).
But how do you determine the best bedtime for your flock? And what time is best to let them out to seize the day? Do you enforce strict bedtimes and wake times, or allow your flock to follow their own schedule?
Chickens have their own “auto” setting
Nature provided chickens with a sophisticated built-in clock that urges them to seek safety when night falls. You’ll notice your flock head for the coop when dusk starts to descend, nestling in together on roosting bars with their fluffy skirts facing out toward the coop door. Chickens are most comfortable when perched high off of the ground and huddled in the safety of numbers, with their backsides blocking the elements and dwindling daylight.
The automatic chicken coop door has its own sophisticated daylight setting that syncs with your flock’s biological rhythm. The integrated sensors close the coop door at dusk and open again at dawn so your girls can follow their natural schedules without the need to modify your own! And, the coop door’s light sensor can be fine-tuned by you, the now-sophisticated-chicken-keeper, to a specific level of lighting. Your chicken coop door can close right at dusk, as soon as all daylight fades, or some light level in between! This means that regardless of the season or your geographical location, your chickens will be closed safely in their coops as determined by the sun.
While it sounds nice not having to enforce poultry-bedtimes, the downside to this method is that predators also follow the same biological clock as our backyard birds. Earlier sunset also means earlier active times for coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and other furry fiends. Ensuring your chickens stay on schedule in addition to having a sturdy dig-resistant run is essential to their safety.
Coax your chickens to safety on a schedule
Chickens aren’t the only animals that take their cues from the sun. The majority of predators come out at dusk and stay active until dawn. Depending on your location, you may find yourself needing to usher your girls to safety before dusk and keep them secured in their coop an hour or two beyond dawn to avoid nature’s equivalent to rush hour.
We’ve taken this into consideration too! The automatic chicken coop door has a manual time setting that can be adjusted to the schedule of your choosing. Simply set the open and close times for morning and evening and voila – instant poultry bedtime enforcement.
Of course, this does go against the grain a bit for your feathered friends, so you’ll need to train and reward them well when adjusting to this type of schedule. But don’t fret – all you have to do is win the heart of one hen and the rest will follow! Save their favorite chicken treats when training them to come when called and place them in the same place inside the coop at the same time every day. Treat dishes or dispensers can be particularly helpful for coop training.
After a few days of coming when called and being rewarded with a tasty treat, your hens will most likely adhere to their new bedtime routine without reminder. But if not, you may need to continue feeding them at their specific time until the habit sticks. Some chicken-keepers prefer to continue feeding their chickens every evening as a bonding experience. Nightly feedings also allow for a brief examination of each hen to make sure everyone is healthy and happy.
For the “freebirds”
Not everyone loves a schedule – chickens included! If your flock has adapted a free-range, do-as-they-please lifestyle, they may not find the idea of bedtime appealing. By using the manual control setting on the automatic chicken coop door, you can still help them turn in at a respectable hour!
Simply press the open or close button to activate the coop door. While pressing a button might not make the automatic coop door fully “automated”, the door still opens and closes smoothly and safely, securing your free-spirits overnight.
Give them a night-light
Just like children, chickens are wary of the dark! When you’re pint-sized poultry, it’s easy to get scared by things that go bump in the night. That’s why we’ve created a literal beacon of comfort for your flock coming to bed after a long day!
The coop-light is synced with the automatic coop door. If the daylight or time settings are running, the chicken coop light will turn on 5 minutes before the door closes. This encourages your girls to head toward the illuminated safety of their coop before being tucked in! The coop light will automatically turn off after the coop door closes, making sure your hens have “lights out” at an appropriate time!
Since the coop light is controlled by the automatic door’s control panel, it can also be manually switched on and off. Quick roost checks are a breeze with the external switch, and the soft lighting won’t disturb your resting flock. And no need to worry if you forget to turn off the coop light before heading to bed yourself – the light will automatically turn off after 2 minutes to ensure no hens stay up too late!
Additional cooler-weather considerations
Along with the changing of our clocks comes the changing of the weather. Many areas of the US experience snow and cold temperatures well before daylight savings time ends, while other areas are just getting started with their winter preparations.
No matter where you live, it’s never too early (or late!) to prepare your chickens for a new season. Keeping your girls safe and warm all winter will help the overall health and wellbeing of your flock!
Do you have a cold weather check-list? If not, here’s one to get you started:
- Secure your flock in a coop overnight – ideally in a fully-enclosed space where they can huddle up and share their body heat
- Consider additional layers of insulation for extreme temperatures
- Be sure to feed a well-balanced diet and provide vitamins for chickens to offset the stress of temperature fluctuation
- Prepare for egg production and flock activity to reduce as a natural response to the days becoming shorter – you can read more here: Winter Chicken Keeping FAQs
Warm wishes and safe slumber
When questions arise, Omlet answers with a tangible, functional solution! We create, innovate, and push the boundaries of what “is” in order to produce high-quality pet products that help your furry and feathery family members live their best lives. Our horizontal-opening, fully automated, easy to install, night-light compatible, heavy-duty, all-weather automatic coop door is just one of the many products created through this line of thinking. But don’t just take our word for it – check out what real-life flock raisers have to say about our automatic coop door: 8 Things Chicken Keepers Love About the Autodoor.
Remember, our clocks turn back on November 6th, 2022 (unless of course you live in Arizona or Hawaii!), so be sure to adjust your automatic chicken coop door settings if necessary. The daylight setting will automatically adjust as the sun sets earlier, but scheduled open and close times will need to be changed. Be sure to give your flock a heads-up when moving bedtime up an hour! Start putting them to bed a little earlier each night to make sure they’ve got their new routine down by November 6th, and to make sure no one gets left out in the dark!
No matter where you live, how big your flock is, or how much space you have, it’s our goal to help you provide the best possible bonding experience for you and your pets. Whether you want full-automation when it comes to closing your chickens in for the night or enjoy the everyday interaction of tucking them in as it gets darker, the automatic coop door gives you peace of mind when telling your flock good night. So, here’s to staying warm and safe this season – the fun, innovative way!
This entry was posted in Chickens