Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by thewatsonfarm, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. thewatsonfarm

    thewatsonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    So my lovely little rescue hen, Lucille, has been integrating well into the flock. But in the last week the bedtime routine seems to have changed. We have two coops inside a larger enclosure for safety. My existing flock was all sleeping together in one coop, with Lucille as the odd man out. Eventually I decided to just move her in at night, while everyone was sleeping.

    That was awesome! Within 2 nights of that, she seemed to have much improved her status in the flock, and seems much more friendly with Fiona, the Coop Queen. Yay for Lucille!!!

    But now my two oldest hens have left the group and they're sleeping separately in the other coop. I don't know why! I even built a new, longer roosting bar over the weekend to make sure that all the girls could fit comfortably! Ugh!

    I really want everyone to get along. So the last 2 nights, I have moved my older hens, Olga & Annie, back in with the others, so everyone would be together. Oh, Olga gets so angry with me about this!

    Should I keep encouraging them to sleep together? (I could close up one coop before bedtime.) Or just let it go? What difference does it make? Will sleeping together encourage a more unified flock?
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Probably because there is not enough room in either coop for all the birds. They might all fit in there, but too tightly to be comfortable.

    How many birds total?
    How big are coops in feet by feet?
    How long is roost in feet?
    Pics would help.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You've changed the flock dynamics. I don't know where the new hen ranks in the pecking order but I'd guess above those two. My guess is that she is making life miserable for those two as they settle in for bed so they are finding a safer place to sleep.

    People worry so much about the feelings of their chickens. Chickens have their own rules for their society, they have developed ways to keep the flock functioning. One of those ways is that if there is conflict, they avoid each other. As long as they are not hurting each other and get along during the day they are fine. As they go to bed is when I see mine most brutal to each other. During the day I don't see that, or at least hardly ever.

    The only problem I can see with them sleeping separately at night is the inconvenience to you. You need to shut and open two coops instead of one. It may cost you some extra time cleaning.

    When chickens sleep in trees they don't all bunch up together on one limb, they spread out onto different limbs. They do that by pecking order rank, the highest ranking get to choose the best limbs and the rest sort themselves out as they will. When mine go to bed the highest ranking ones get the corner nearest the window. With my crooked tree limbs that's also the highest spot. The lowest ranking go to the far corner, as far away as they can get. The middle ranking are in between. Yours are doing the same thing, just being more extreme about it by leaving the coop.
  4. thewatsonfarm

    thewatsonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you both very much. I'm kind of a control freak, and I very purposely built them a new, longer roost, so everyone had plenty of room to be together (it's even painted pink!!!). And they fail to appreciate my plan. Chickens, huh???

    Well, there are definitely some pecking-order dynamics going on -- you're totally right. Lucille seems to be right in the middle, and above my older two. I was thinking she's really got some moxy for being so rude to Olga & Annie, but okay. I need to butt out!!!

    Thank you for your wise advice. :)
  5. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2017
    Maybe they're just sick of the youngsters gossiping all night.
    thewatsonfarm likes this.
  6. thewatsonfarm

    thewatsonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Could be. The younger girls are always the last ones to go to bed at night and the first ones up in the morning. Particularly when they start screaming in the morning, I find them pretty annoying too. :)
  7. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2017
    Chickens don't sleep all night. I'm still new to this, so I go do chooken checks wth a torch before I go to bed, and I often find them deep in conversation instead of sleeping!
  8. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2016
    That's interesting and would wxplain my rooster crowing in the middle of the night... You must have some light then? I thought in the darkness they had no choice but to sleep. Our roo crowed only in moonlit nights, if I remember right.
  9. NotSoChickenLove

    NotSoChickenLove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2017
    There's no light in the coop, and I just shine my torch in for a second to check they're tucked in. I can hear them when I walk over, though, chuckling away to themselves. Sometimes they're fast asleep, often they're talking about something or other. Food, probably. Perhaps whether there will be corn in with their breakfast pellets. I think they must sleep in multiple short bursts rather than through the night. That would make sense, because they're a prey animal.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by