It took our chickens a little over a week, but they now put themselves away in the coop when it gets dark! I had my doubts -- serious doubts -- when, late last week, I went out back to put them away.
We had left the run open so they could run around the backyard, and then I got distracted for an hour or so. I looked out and saw that it was dusk, and we hadn't put the chickens away. So I went out to find them in the mostly-dark and they were no where to be found. Finally, I heard a bird cheeping and I found the two chickens huddled together in a little ball of feathers crammed into a very tiny space under a piece of left over styrofoam in the back yard. I scooped them up (they seemed to be happy to see me) and plunked them down in the coop.
That was last week.
But two night ago... Magic!
We went out to put them away and they had already climbed up into the coop and hopped onto the roost! A small victory, I know, but fun nonetheless.
The little chicken, CheepersV (who may or may not turn out to be a rooster) is growing nicely. We let her out with the big chickens for hours at a time with nothing worse than an occasional peck from the bigger birds. CheepersV is almost 6 weeks old, so she'll be moving outside permanently soon. Then... Then we get the garage back! No more cage and heat lamp and chicken poo. Ahhhh. It's the little things...