Another "Sleeping in Nesting Boxes" question...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MichelleT, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I've seen all the threads on this one and tried what was recommended. We've blocked off the boxes at night, but then they "roost" on the floor - all snuggled up together. They're adults (2 years old or older), and I'm not sure what they did before we got them (from a farm). Interestingly, they are all (or almost all) on the roosts in the morning. There is a window (glass) up high that they look out and see us coming to let them out.
    It's not really cold yet (40 degrees at night) but I'm wondering if this is okay? or if they're maybe moving during the night to the roosting bars?
  2. hennible

    hennible Overrun With Chickens

    If their cold on the floor I like to think they know enough to move to the roost. If you haven't had them long it could just take awhile for them to decide to use the roost consistently. I just built a new coop and the young chickens have gone from roosting to some on the floor some on the feed storage bin ( yuck ) and some roosting... Once they get used to it I'm sure they will all roost on the bars.
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    It appears that some of them are "getting it" on their own during the night by going up to the roost. Question: how high are your roost bar(s) compared to the nesting boxes? Your roosts should be at least 18" higher than the nests....

    You may have to do what I had to do....picking them up and putting them up there....
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
  4. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2014
    I WISH mine would get in the nest box! One of them is 8 months old and no eggs!
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I had to lower my nests so that the roosts were above them
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How many chickens?
    How much roost length?
    Height of roost? A foot above nests is good.
    Height of nests?
    How big is coop?

    What exactly have you tried and for how long have you tried it?

    A couple pics could best answer some of those questions.
  7. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    Sounds like they may be mounting roosts in morning to see you coming?

    Unless they have ambient light I don't think they can judge a jump onto roosts in the dark?

    Maybe their former situation did not allow roosting and they were uses to nest/floor sleeping?

    Could you post a pic of your coop showing roosts and nests?
    And what breeds do you have? Large girls?
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As you may be able to tell from all the questions there could be a lot of different things going on. I’ll add some questions.

    Are any of them Silkies or chickens that can’t fly? That may explain some of them not getting on the roosts at all.

    How much light does that window let in when it is getting dark? Is it too dark for them to be able to see the roosts well enough to get up there? I find they don’t need a lot of light but they do need some. Perhaps it is too dark to see in there by the time it is dark enough outside for them to go to bed, especially if you have a streetlight or something like that providing light outside.

    Since some are on the roosts in the morning those can get up there when they want to. Most chickens have an instinct to sleep as high as they can, but they are also creatures of habit. They may be used to sleeping in a group on the floor or something like that instead of roosting. Sometimes a chicken can be such a bully on the roosts as they are settling down at night that some others look for a safer place to sleep. Have you checked on them late at night after they are well settled in for the night to see which ones are where? How many chickens and how much roost space do you have? Can the weaker get away from a bully without leaving the roosts? If you have some sleeping on the roosts and some elsewhere I’d give this some consideration. Maybe add another roost spread out a bit.

    They are not going to be any warmer on the roosts than in a nest or on the floor. It’s the other way around. They will be cooler on the roosts. But that’s fine. As you sort of said, 40 degrees is just getting comfortable for chickens. They can handle cold great, it’s heat that is dangerous to them. They are not doing this because of the cold. But they hate cold winds hitting them at any time. Is your coop configured so that a cold breeze is blowing on them on the roosts? In warm weather that is fine, even recommended but in cold weather they don’t like it. I don’t think this is it but I’ll throw it out for consideration.

    There is nothing that says they have to sleep on the roosts. They’ll be fine sleeping on the floor as long as it is not a soggy wet mess. But you don’t want them sleeping in the nests so yeah, you need to do something. Good luck figuring it out.
  9. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Thanks to all. Placing them on the roost has been helpful - 4/5 were there at dark when we checked so they're getting it. The roosts are not all above the nesting boxes, so that may have been some issue, but again, they're getting it. I also decided not to worry about it - the ventilation is high - and so as winter comes there is a chance that the draft will keep them down lower, but I guess I do not really need to worry about it. They're dry and out of the wind so I'm hoping all will be good. Thanks again!

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