Changing Roosting Positions at Night

HenMom8522

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 26, 2015
6
20
62
I'm looking for advice on roosting at night. I have 5 hens, a 4 year old Rhode Island Red, a 3 year old Jubilee Orpington and 3 six-month olds: RIR, Buff Orpington and Australorp. They all roost on the same bar at dusk but during the middle of the night, one or two always end up on the floor, on a different roost or on a bale of straw.

The oldest RIR is definitely the head hen and she is never "displaced" but all of the other ones take turns ending up somewhere other than the roost. They are healthy, no signs of mites, lice, etc. Should I be concerned or is this normal? The run and coop are completely secure so I have no concern with predators, just curious about their behavior.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,799
78,314
1,452
Wisconsin
It is a 5 foot roost for 5 hens. I thought that was big enough, should I try to expand it?
Or if possible add a second roost. I actually have never watched them all night or have been out earlier enough to see in the am, but it's always possible they move around like we do when sleeping and someone is being slowly squished off the roost.

Also sometimes birds will fly off the roost at night when disturbed, so it also could be something like mice or rats, or even any disturbances that's causing it. I don't know where you are located, but rodents often come into the coop in early winter looking for a place to spend the winter.
 

HenMom8522

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 26, 2015
6
20
62
That is a really good point. I have actually seen mouse droppings recently in the coop - I'm in St. Louis, MO. Do you think that would be enough to startle them off the roost? Do you have any suggestions on getting rid of mice? I obviously can't do traps or poison.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
What are the dimensions of the roost beyond length? I am one that does sit out with birds at night and do see / here things that are associated with roosting issues. I have a group of six roosters, each weighing about 7 lbs, that roll their roost pole sometimes causing someone to be dislodged. Roost material being too small or large can be problematic.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
4,154
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Edgewood, KY
I think if you have room for the second roost that would be fine. I don’t watch mine in the middle of the night and their am positions are all down and out in run for food so I don’t assume they were that way at night as when they hear me coming they get ready for food. When they are locked in at night, They are all waiting at the door sleeping positions forgotten in the am. I let mine out at sun up.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,064
125,833
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Pics of inside of coop showing roosts might help here.

Mice should be eliminated, you can put snap traps under milk crates or in shoe boxes with mouse holes cut in to protect birds form being snapped. There are traps that are enclosed too, live traps and electronic traps. Securing feed can go a long way in deterring rodents.
 

MANNA-PRO

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