I have had chickens my entire life and have NEVER seen anything so ridiculous as this. I have 13 hens and 1 rooster I raised from day old chicks from McMurray. They are coming up on 4 months old now.
Every night when it's time to go to bed, these chickens turn into crazed lunatics. They cannot just go up on the roost poles and go to sleep! They fight, claw, bite, knock each other off, flog each other, scream, and actually try to sit on TOP of each other. They will climb up on top of each other in a pig pile formation until the one on the bottom is crushed and is screamin and fighting to get free.
Last night my husband and I sat in the coop and watched, and several of them were even flying straight up into the flourescent light fixture which is attached flat on the ceiling. They would crash into it and then act shocked there was no place to sit up there! WTH!
The coop is huge - about 14'x14'x8'. They have 3 roosting options depending on how high they want to get. It is a step up type configuration so they can hop on one, then hop up another level of they want. The bottom level is only 12" from the ground so it's not a big leap. But they will try to fly from the nest box platform all the way on the other side of the room and make it to the very top roost, which is near the ceiling. It will take 3 attempts and cdrash landings to get it right, instead of hopping up from level 1 to level 3.
There is enough roosting space for 50 birds - literally. And all 14 of them will try to crowd into a 2 foot section on one end. They pig pile and knock each other down. We watched the rooster crash all the way from the top to the bottom last night twice.
You should see the feathers fly! OMG it's insane. The Hamburgs have NO tail feathers no from all the fighting and drama surrounding the roost pole.
They used to be in a different coop with an entirely different roost configuration and they did the same thing. Every night you could hear constant screaming and commotion for about 1 hour at bed time. Then I'd go in there and some would be huddled on the floor, some in the window sill, some piled on top of each other, and 90% of the roost pole is completely empty.
As for the poles themselves, they have options between round cedar log and flat 2x6 boards.
How can I stop this?!?!? I am desperate! I cannot stand to see all these beautiful feathers being ripped out every night with all this stupidness.
During the day, they get along perfectly. Nobody pecks or fights. They take naps together all laying together close but spread out in the dirt.
PLEASE GIVE ME SOME IDEAS.