Trying this one more time.
OK, tonight the birds are absolutely sleeping outside. I've been talking to them about this all day, explaining that under no circumstances may they wimp out and beg to come sleep indoors again tonight. They are big girls and they must sleep outside in their coop like the hens-in-training that they are. Enough already. Pull your socks up, girls!
They make sooooo much noise at night. They really do get quite frantic as the sun goes down. I go out to see them and rather than acting aloof as they do during the day, they all jump up on my shoulders. Their wild ancestors roosted in trees at night; our girls seem to want to leap up on me as a way of getting up high. So far they haven't made the connection that they could simply hop up into The Vault and they'd be up off the ground, secure, content, etc. We're still working on that concept.
So tonight around eight we gave them their evening dollop of yogurt and locked them up. (Still haven't figured out exactly when bedtime should be--people tell us that hens will let you know when bedtime is because they will head to bed on their own, but ours aren't there yet.) They made a terrible racket and looked longingly at us through the bars of their jail cell--I mean, the wire mesh windows of their Vault. Sigh. I went out to check on them a few minutes ago and they were still peeping, but they'd settled down considerably. How many hours until morning?