AAAAHHHHH!!!!! Roosting is SOOO stressfull!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JLS, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

    May 29, 2009
    My Coop
    I have been watching my flock roost at night for several weeks. I thought it would get easier & less stressfull as time went by but it has continued! Every evening about an hour before sunset the flock slowly makes it's way into the coop for the night. It is sooo stressfull for the birds. The dominate birds command the premium roosting spots and fight off anyone who dares approach. Although I have PLENTY of roosting space, it is a fight and struggle to get a spot and then keep it until the last glimmer of light fades away.

    I have three 12 'roosts, one 5' roost, and one 8' roost for 20 chickens. But still about a half a dozen is forced to sleep on top of the nest boxes, under the roosts which leads to poop being on the half a dozen birds sleeping on the boxes at night!There is so much space that is un-used because some hens demand at least 3 bird-lengths distance (on either side) from any other roosting bird. One 12' roost is almost completely empty (only 1 bird roost on it nightly), and the other 12' roost - infront of the nest boxes - is completely empty every night!! [​IMG]

    Do I have enough space for them or do I need to add more?
  2. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    While I'm not sure if you have enough space (I'll leave that to someone else), I can tell you I have exactly the same problem. I just pick up the ones that try and roost on the nest boxes and physically place them on the roost where I want them. I have 14 chickens and really need them to be on the one and only roost I have space for. Plus, being close will keep them warmer come winter's cold chill. It's a pain doing that every night but I keep hoping they'll get it right on their own one of these days. Good luck! Oh, one more thing, I also tell them to shhhh, really loudly if they are bickering once they are on the roost, it helps to stop them from fidgeting and fighting so much. Not sure what happens after I am gone.
  3. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    As long as you've got about a linear foot of roost per bird and it's not directly exposed to the weather you should be fine.

    This is normal behavior for chickens until they've become well established. Every night it's going to be fuss, fuss, fuss over who gets the best places. You can make the entire roost identical in every particular and they'll still fuss over who gets the best place. In fact you can get a pretty good idea of who is where on the pecking order by closely observing the line up on the roosts.
  4. alabama49

    alabama49 Songster

    Oct 26, 2008
    east central Alabama
    Mine have been doing the exact same thing lately. It seems they have only recently started this & I have been wondering if something is wrong. Seems like the roo is being very bossy to the hens on the roost-pecking at them etc until they get like he wants them too. Everything was fine when he was roosting on his own roost. It this normal behavior?
  5. The Tinman

    The Tinman Songster

    Jun 10, 2010
    Fairfield County CT
    I have roosts going around 3/4 of my coop at 4ft. This is the most popular.The one on top of the door I have to take down every night. They are pretty good about it and will jump on my hand.[​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  6. mychookschick

    mychookschick Songster

    Aug 28, 2009
    Interesting... I will have to file this away for future reference! My chooks all roost side-by-side and the lil' ones sleep under the big ones to keep warm!
  7. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Songster

    Aug 3, 2010
    The Naugatuck Valley
    I just have one long roost for my six girls.. no levels and NO FIGHTING. I swear I still am not sure which is the dominant hen. It is never the same one coming out first in the morning. Never the same one to get to the treats first.

    If only my daughters could play together so nicely....

    ....... [​IMG] yeah, right.
  8. MaryV

    MaryV In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2010
    My girls have always gotten along until they started their molt about a month ago. Now, my sweetest easter egger is at the bottom of the pecking order and has started roosting in between the nesting boxes. We move her on to the roost, go back out and check and she's moved back to the boxes! Hope they start getting along again after they're done molting.
  9. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I'm wondering what age the birds fighting over roost space are. Because mine still crowd together or they did till 2 went broody. I don't have a dominant bird yet may change with the new babies if they hatch.
  10. JLS

    JLS Love my feathered babies!

    May 29, 2009
    My Coop
    Quote:My youngest birds are 21 weeks, then I have 7 month old pullets, and the hens are 1.5 yrs old. It seems like my dominate hen is slipping in rank because I saw her being bullied last night by a lower ranked hen. I expect the hens to bully the younger ones to an extent. My flock is all messed up. The hens are molting and the youngest pullets are getting ready to start laying. Ijust want them to have the most peacefull life as possible.

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