Any problems if they won't roost?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PowellAnimals, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. PowellAnimals

    PowellAnimals Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2015
    Muncy, Pennsylvania
    I have 17 bantams housed with 2 Dominiques, 3 ducks, and a dog cage full of baby chicks in a 12x12 coop with plenty of roost space. The older birds are all around 13 weeks of age. I know everyone can get on the roosts as I see them on there throughout the day and evening. However, as soon as the light goes off at night, the only birds roosting are the 2 Dominiques and a Polish. All of the other chickens pile on the floor in a corner. I can't think of any reason to not let them continue doing so but this is my first time with chickens so I may be missing something. I have tried placing them on the roosts but they still end up on the floow. Why would most of the chickens not want to roost? And, is there any problems with allowing them to continue sleeping on the floor? The coop has a cement floor covered by about eight inches of pine shavings and I practice the deep litter method.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    As long as they can get up on the roosts they will in their own time. That being said you could always go in after dark and move a few of them up on the roost just to get them started, and once some start the others will follow.Just make sure that they all can get up there and the nest boxes are lower than the roost.I am also assuming that there is enough roost space for them to spread out, because the big girls may not be sharing the roost if it's to small.
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Most young ones start out in a pile on the floor, then one day one goes on the roost and that's the end of that, so leave them be, they will get up there when they are ready, sleeping on a roost is a bit more difficult that sitting on the floor.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I have a group of pullets, hatched end of June, that still don't roost. They pile on the ground and are just fine. They're older than my birds usually are when they start roosting, but there's no problem with it. Just make sure they aren't sleeping under other birds that are roosting, they'll get pooped on [​IMG]
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I made a barrier that separates my roosts - it lets those not so high up in the pecking order roost in peace (if thats what they wish). Sometimes they use the smaller roosting area, sometimes they are all together on the main roost.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Normally my brooder-raised chicks start roosting overnight around 10 to 12 weeks of age. I’ve had some start as early as 5 weeks and some go a lot longer than 3 months. Your 13-week-olds are right on schedule. This is in my grow-out coop with no adults. If they are being raised in the main coop with the adults it normally takes them a lot longer to get to the main roosts but they may roost on something else until they do. That might be the nests. Younger chicks are often scared of older chickens on the roosts. Not always but often, even if they get along fine during the day. I put up a separate roost for them, higher than the nests but lower than the main roosts and separated a bit horizontally. I have nine 11-week-olds using that separate roost right now although there is lots of room on the main roosts. I know you said you had plenty of roosts but if some start sleeping in the nests you might want to consider another separate roost.

    I’ve had broody hens take their chicks to the roosts as young as two weeks, while others wait a lot longer. Those two week olds had no problems on my tree branch roosts. Perching and roosting is instinctive to them but they are also creatures of habit. Most make the transition from sleeping on the floor to the roosts without any problem but some seem to get stuck along the way. From what you describe I’d advise patience. They will probably make that transition in their own good time. If it bothers you then you can try moving them to the roosts at night after dark to speed up that process. As long as it is dark enough they can’t see to fly off they’ll probably soon get in the habit of sleeping up there.

    Some of this changes if you have some Silkies in your 17 bantams. Since Silkies can’t fly they often have trouble getting to the roosts. Some Silkies enjoy roosting and will if they can at all. Others are quite content to spend their nights on the floor. To answer you other question, as long as the floor is dry where they are spending the night, they are fine sleeping on the floor.

    I use a lot of weasel words to describe their possible behavior because no two broods are identical. Each individual chicken and each brood does their own thing. They are living animals so no one can tell you with certainty what they will absolutely do. But we can give you trends and probabilities of what they are likely to do. No matter what someone tells you someone else can come up with a different experience.

    Good luck! Your chicks sound pretty normal to me.
    1 person likes this.
  7. PowellAnimals

    PowellAnimals Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2015
    Muncy, Pennsylvania
    Lots of great advice. Thank you everyone for your wisdom. I have a total of six roosting bars and four are larger than 4 feet across and on multiple walls so I think there is space. The largest Dominique who roosts on top seems to make noise whenever anyone is on her roost or directly below her but otherwise doesn't seem to care. I will let them be for now and see how they do. Thank you everyone!

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