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Is it too late to teach my hens to roost at night?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello. I started a new flock last spring and my ladies are happy and adorable. My only issue is that they sleep in the nesting boxes and never use the roost installed in the shelter portion of my coop. This is my second flock and the previous flock (living the rest of their lives happily in a nearby farm) used the roost immediately when introduced to the coop. Only thing is, I got the old flock as adult hens, so they were already roost-trained, if you will. So, now that my ladies are 9 months old I am not sure how to get them to start roosting at night. I also tried lowering the roost to make it more noticeable, but so far no takers.

 

Is it too late? Should I block the nesting boxes to force them to find another place to sleep?

post #2 of 8

How high are the nests from the floor?

How high are the roosts above the nests?

Definitely block the nests in the late afternoon.

Place the birds on the roosts for a couple nights if they're not already up there.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 8

Chickens can be lazy. They also enjoy snuggling down into comfort when they sleep. But the nest boxes are not the proper place for any chicken to sleep unless she's incubating eggs. It's a very dirty habit to let them adopt.

 

Block the nest boxes after all egg laying activity is finished for the day. That usually encourages the chickens to use the perches. It's instinctive. They should catch on pretty quickly.

 

The only problems may be heavy breeds and high perches. They do not like the jolt in their legs they experience when they jump down, so I like to provide a few low perches for those individuals. Many of my other chickens also prefer low perches, too. So there are some of all heights in the coops and in the runs.

 

If you have very high perches, and the chickens still don't want to use them, try a ramp so they can go up and down without jumping.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks folks! I recently lowered the roost to be closer in height to the nesting box, about 2ft from the ground. I will try blocking the nesting boxes in the afternoon and encourage them to roost. Always happy to go watch the ladies after they go to sleep :-). I will let you know how it goes in a couple weeks. 

post #5 of 8

Roosts should be about a foot higher than nests, and easy to get up to and down from without crashing into a wall or something.

 

Covering the nests before dusk, then uncovering after dark works well.

I hinged a piece of plywood for the nest cover, so it's easy to do when I have new pullets.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #6 of 8

My chickens are pooping in the nest boxes, and I think that is where they sleep.  We have only had them for about two weeks (10 months old) and only have had 2 eggs (4 hamburgs).  Should I try covering the nesting boxes?  Should I do this in the evening and uncover in the morning? Thanks, Cork

post #7 of 8

You can uncover them after dark. They won't move after on the roost.

Leave them open during the bulk of the day so they don't develop a habit of laying elsewhere.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 1/12/16 at 7:20am

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply
post #8 of 8

Thanks for the advice.  Cork

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