It is fun to watch the chickens put themselves to bed at night. Unlike most children, they do not need any coaxing. The chickens head for the hen house at about 8:20 PM. A few chickens actually go in a few minutes earlier - perhaps to secure the best roosting spot. Some of the birds scramble up the ramp, check out who is already roosting, then head back outside to dig up another bug or seed before calling it a day.
Most of the older chickens think they belong to a private club and do their best to intimidate and prevent the Bobbsey Twins (as I have nick-named the two youngest chicks because they stick together like glue and look exaclty alike) from entering the hen house. After a lot of commotion, pushing and shoving, and sometimes even a little pecking, everyone finds a place to sleep.
The chickens are calm at this time of the day, so you can pet them to your heart's content. Their feathers are surprisingly soft. I always wish our gals a good night and give them a heads up if there is something special going on the next day. Then I put their feed in the house and lock them up so they are safe from racoons, possums, and other nightly 'predators.'