At what age do they begin to roost at night?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sreihart, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. sreihart

    sreihart Songster

    My 10 BO and 5 GLW chicks will be 9 weeks old tomorrow. My coop isn't completed yet so I built an 8x8x5' pen for them to stay in until the coop is finished. It has old lawnmower wheels on it so it can be moved around. I guess you'd call it a tractor of sorts. (thanks lildinkem for your help and answering my questions!) At evening when they should be going to roost, they all pile on top of each other in a corner and they're there until morning. I have two roost poles set up for them and they sit on them during the rest of the day, but at night they go to the corner. I'm afraid a coon will show up and reach through and rip someone's head off before they know what hit them. My wire is 1x1 but still big enough for a determined coon to get his paw through. Any suggestions on how to teach them to roost at night?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010

  2. RM44

    RM44 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    Woodstock, Georgia
    Some of mine have been roosting off and on since 2-3 weeks old, but we put roosts in there for them from the time they were day olds. Most of the girls didn't start roosting until 5-6 weeks old, but some as early as 2 weeks. I would think at 9 weeks that your girls should be roosting. Have you researched your roosting methods? What are you using for a roost? I used the narrow end of a 1x2 mounted about 6 inches off the floor when they were 2 weeks old. I switched to a 2x2 mounted about 1.5 feet from the ground when they were 5 weeks old. When they were about 10 weeks old and we moved them outside I switched to a permanent flat edge of a 2x4 (wide part parallel to the ground) mounted 4 feet high. I suspect either your roosting material isn't comfortable or it's too high for them maybe?
  3. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    Mine would play on the roosts but sleep on the floor in a big pigpile until they were about 6-8 weeks old. I was a little late in putting them to bed one night and got really freaked out when I didn't see anyone in the run or inside the coop - then I turned the corner and found them all up on the roost!
  4. ChksontheRun

    ChksontheRun Songster

    Mar 18, 2010
    Central Virginia
    Mine didn't roost till about 3 weeks after I put them in their pen and coop(10 weeks ish). It just seemed to take them a while to figure it out. For 3 weeks I kept wondering if my chickens were a little "slow" compared to everyone else's chickens till one night.....there they were on the roost, all by themselves. I was so proud. [​IMG]
  5. Littletonchicks

    Littletonchicks In the Brooder

    May 7, 2010
    Mine are eight weeks and they have been roosting for about two weeks now. I go down about 8:30 to close up the coop and they are all lined up on the very top roost (all 14 of them). I made a slanted roost with four 2 x 4 for them to roost on but they all line up on the very top roost. Silly girls. [​IMG]

    JOSEYWALES In the Brooder

    May 20, 2010
    My experience has been that they are roosting @ 5 weeks or so. I did have trouble with some buff orpingtons that were used to having lights on. When I moved them to the new coop they were grouping in the corner at night, when I got around to adding a light they were up on the roost the next night. I guess they were scared of th dark. [​IMG]
  7. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Quote:Yeah, that's been my experience too. Young birds like to hop up on the roost because they can but sleep together in a pile. Then during their second/third month they discover they are better off sleeping up high.

  8. roosterdog

    roosterdog In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2010
    Well I sat in the coop for three evenings and put them on the roost. They wanted to roost on me, so I would hold them until they went to sleep then put them on the roost. I know Crazy Lady!!!!![​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  9. kateseidel

    kateseidel Songster

    Jan 9, 2010
    Mine loved to pile on top of each other in the corner - they went out to the coop at about 6 weeks, with lots of roosting choices. They did not really start to roost until about 12 weeks, and now we are down to only four who still like to pile up together and 11 who like to roost. After all the wonderful roost building and agonizing about whether to turn my 2x4's sideways or flatways, the favorite place to roost? The rafters of the coop (which are sideways, BTW).
  10. sreihart

    sreihart Songster

    Thank you all for giving me some answers. I'm beside myself. I've had a roost for them since they were only a few days old and kept making one bigger and higher as they grew, so they've been roosting, but just not to sleep. They have one that is about 18 inches off the ground in an outside pen and I added one about 4 ft off the ground above it. I've been putting different birds on the higher one but they don't seem to like it. The high one is a 2x4 with the wide side for them to sit on. The bottom roost is a 2x2 pole and they really seem to like that one because they can wrap their toes around it I guess. I never would have dreamed that I would worry so much about chickens, but I'm in LOVE! [​IMG]

    If anyone thinks of more suggestions I'd be most appreciative. Maybe they're still trying to figure it out.

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