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Why are they so weird

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So every night since I took the kinnle the younger ones were in out of the coop, all my older (and I mean three weeks older) chicks crowd in one corner of the coop and see who can squeeze under who. They have a roosting bar but all seem to want to sleep on the ground in the corner. It is as if they all want to be up in the corner. They haven't had a heat lamp for three weeks now, our temps have stayed consistently warm, so it's not like they are huddling together for warmth. The babies just look at them like they have lost their minds. Lastnight I checked on them before bed they were all sleeping and the little ones were just tucked in under them. Is this a normal behavior? Will they ever sleep on the roost? I have seen them resting in it during the day when it was raining. So they know it's there.
post #2 of 5
Many birds won't roost until they are 10-14 weeks of age - it's quite normal for them to pile in a corner until then. It's even beneficial, as early roosting can sometimes result in crooked breastbones.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Hen House View Post

So every night since I took the kinnle the younger ones were in out of the coop, all my older (and I mean three weeks older) chicks crowd in one corner of the coop and see who can squeeze under who. They have a roosting bar but all seem to want to sleep on the ground in the corner. It is as if they all want to be up in the corner. They haven't had a heat lamp for three weeks now, our temps have stayed consistently warm, so it's not like they are huddling together for warmth. The babies just look at them like they have lost their minds. Lastnight I checked on them before bed they were all sleeping and the little ones were just tucked in under them. Is this a normal behavior? Will they ever sleep on the roost? I have seen them resting in it during the day when it was raining. So they know it's there.

I have 4 about 3 week old chicks and when i put them in there coop for the first time, i put a heat lamp right above one of their roost bars. When i first put them in their coop which was about a week ago, they would huddle in the corner like yours. At night i would pick all of them up and put them on their roost bars and they would just jump off right away and then i would pick them back up and put them back on the roosting bars. I continued doing this for only a couple of days for about 20 minutes each night and now when they come in the coop at night they hop up on their roosting bars and stay their on their own all night long.

post #4 of 5

With chickens, there seems to be a learning curve for them as they are introduced to new things. Good news is they catch on fast.

 

One way to get them to "break the huddle" on the ground and move to roosts is to offer them a set of training wheels. A set of low roosts, no more than 6 inches to a foot off the ground, and above where they naturally want to go. This happens about the same time as the heat is removed, so when they are making the transition from heat lamp brooder with birds on the floor, to birds on a roost.

 

In days of old, they would often put in a type of temporary, low altitude level, training wheel roosts , with a chicken wire ramp leading up to them and chicken wire tacked beneath the roost bars (again, no more than a foot off the ground). Wire beneath the roost bars kept the young birds off the floor and let their nightime droppings fall through, keeping the birds clean. So they could park themselves on the wire, or perch on the roost. They quickly learn to sit on the roost bars all by themselves.

 

Leaving them to huddle together in a corner was a big deal when they had large numbers of birds in a brooder. A lot of them would be smothered, trampled or otherwise killed in the process. Having half your young flock turn up dead one morning was a big deal. It still is!

post #5 of 5

It can take a while for the roosting instinct to kick in.  What they are doing now is really trying to imitate what they would be doing if they were raised by a hen, and that's getting under her or under her wings.

 

Chicks raised by a hen learn to roost sooner than those that are not as momma leads them to the roost.   I have a bantam hen now with 6 chicks and she took them to roost at about 4 weeks.   It is so "cute" seeing her on the roost with these 6 chicks some how tucked under her breast and wings.   It really does not look comfortable for her at all.

 

The instinct to roost will eventually kick it.   If you have not had losses my guess is you will not at this point.

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