Chicken Roosting Behaviors

FrannyLW

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
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Central NJ
Do chickens change their roosting behaviors when they grow older (hey I know it happens with adults lol). I have 4 hens, 1 rooster. 2 of my hens are approx. 3 years old, the other 3 are about 1 year old. (2 are Ayam cemani, 1 is a Brahma) Since I got my Brahma in January, I could tell she was always the odd once out. Unfortunately I got her as a single 6 month old, but I eventually managed to get her integrated into the flock. The 2 ayam cemani, (hen/rooster) I got 2 months before. The ayam cemanis stay together. I noticed my Brahma never slept with them. She would sleep on the roosting bars near the nesting boxes. As much as I would close up the nesting area, when I left it open she would be in there at night. Oh well, she was not in the nesting box so that was good. But lately I found one of my older ones in the nesting box, and of course poop on the nesting box in the morning. Last night I tried closing up the area, and found my Brahma not sleeping on the roost with everyone, but hanging on the floor. I didn't like that because it was directly underneath the others, I don't want her getting pooped on. There is enough for all to roost. Do they stop roosting when getting older?
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
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Jul 31, 2018
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Do chickens change their roosting behaviors when they grow older (hey I know it happens with adults lol). I have 4 hens, 1 rooster. 2 of my hens are approx. 3 years old, the other 3 are about 1 year old. (2 are Ayam cemani, 1 is a Brahma) Since I got my Brahma in January, I could tell she was always the odd once out. Unfortunately I got her as a single 6 month old, but I eventually managed to get her integrated into the flock. The 2 ayam cemani, (hen/rooster) I got 2 months before. The ayam cemanis stay together. I noticed my Brahma never slept with them. She would sleep on the roosting bars near the nesting boxes. As much as I would close up the nesting area, when I left it open she would be in there at night. Oh well, she was not in the nesting box so that was good. But lately I found one of my older ones in the nesting box, and of course poop on the nesting box in the morning. Last night I tried closing up the area, and found my Brahma not sleeping on the roost with everyone, but hanging on the floor. I didn't like that because it was directly underneath the others, I don't want her getting pooped on. There is enough for all to roost. Do they stop roosting when getting older?
No, they don't stop using the roost bars as they get older.
As you have seen for yourself, chickens tend to favour their own breed. It is a bit more complicated as life goes on and they hatch offspring. Basically a hen or cockerel is in the tribe if it is of the same breed, looks as in the patterns and colour, similar to another, or has blood conection to the main breed.
Your Brahma isn't anything like the others in looks and she didn't arrive with the rest either, so she's a bit of na outcast.
There isn't anything you can do about this. It's not even a question of the others bullying her. She knows she's different and doesn't feel comfortable with the others.
I wouldn't worry about who sleeps in the nest box. Eggs are easy to clean and it's quite possible that the hen in the nest box is starting her moult. If this is the case it is quite common for them to keep their distance from the rest. I've a quite a few that chose a nest box for the majority of their moult and returned to roosting once it was over.
 

FrannyLW

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
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Central NJ
That makes sense. One of my other older ones is also black do the three black ones stay together. The other older one that is hanging in the best box, she’s brown and molting
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Do they stop roosting when getting older?
They don't stop roosting per se, but the pecking order, and thus roosting places, can change over time.

Your description of roosting and nesting areas is a bit confusing,
Can you post pics of your coop, inside and out, to show these areas?

I never let my birds sleep in the nests, I don't want to clean nests or eggs daily.
 

FrannyLW

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
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Central NJ
4213ED7F-AAFE-40D5-AD03-D77CB568A018.jpeg

This is an old picture but this is my coop. On the right side( inside) is the roost. Left side inside top half is the nesting area with 2 roosts. 2 chickens are now sleeping in the nesting boxes itself and this just started a week ago. 3 years of owning chickens they never did this.
 

3KillerBs

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View attachment 2881710
This is an old picture but this is my coop. On the right side( inside) is the roost. Left side inside top half is the nesting area with 2 roosts. 2 chickens are now sleeping in the nesting boxes itself and this just started a week ago. 3 years of owning chickens they never did this.

Has there been any change in your setup or population?

That space is fairly tight for 5 birds so if there's been any kind of shakeup the lower-status birds might be being bullied off the main roost.
 

FrannyLW

Songster
Aug 15, 2018
196
146
126
Central NJ
no change. The last change was when I added my Brahma and that was in January of this year. all 5 do fit on the roost with I believe maybe 1-2 more to spare (but that would be tight). My Brahma never really roosted up there she was always the odd hen out. She ends up on the roost by the nesting area, which, she still does. She does not sleep in the nesting box. Its my older Easter Egger (who is moulting) and my Ayam Cemani who's sleeping in the nesting box.. I closed the area to the nesting box the other night, everyone was on the roost except for my Brahma, who was sleeping on the floor directly underneath them! I actually have a large piece of wood (about 2-3" wide, in the space underneath the nesting area, raised off the floor of course. I thought maybe someone would want to sit on there (I put this there springtime). No one uses that though. they used to just knock it down.
 

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