1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

chickens not using nice new roost

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ailurophile23, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Songster

    Dec 21, 2010
    So my chickens have this wonderful new spacious coop and, until I get the enclosed run finished, they are allowed to free range every day for at least 3-4 hours. They seem to really like the new nest boxes and haven't missed a day of laying even through the move. The issue is that they are choosing to spend their nights in a corner of the coop in the sawdust underneath the new roosting platform. I have tried bribing them to come up the ladder to the roost with mealworms and one of them almost made it. After observing her attempt, I adjusted the ladder so that it ends right at the upper edge of the platform instead of slightly below so they do not have to jump onto the platform. Other than that, the only thing I can figure out is that maybe they would prefer a ramp to a ladder (is it too open and they don't want to see that they are walking in the air?). Or maybe they need a curtain to give them privacy at night?

    Any suggestions on how to get them to use the roost? Here is a picture of the roosting area and ladder (there is a bucket by the ladder so they can step up to it if they do not feel like a short leap - these are brahmas after all) -


    They sleep in this corner -


  2. madamwlf

    madamwlf Nevermore Acres

    Aug 22, 2010
    Mount Airy, MD
    How big is that board you are using? Your roost may not be comfortable to them. Personally I go natural. Tree limbs for all roosts. The chickens love them.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I suggest you make sure it is dark so they can't see to move, then using as little light as you can, set them or just some of them on the roosts at night. Once one or two start roosting up there, the rest should follow.
  4. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Songster

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    The roost bar looks a little thin to me and I'm not sure how easy it is for them to hop up to it off the ladder. A lot people, me included, use 2x4's for roost bars. I'm wondering if instead of a ladder, you put a 2x4 below the poop trays and then replace your existing roost bars with 2x4's. Then make a point of putting them on the roost bar every night until they figure it out. I suspect by jumping off the roost bar each morning they'll figure out on their own how to get back up at night. And maybe paint the 2x4's white so they can see them in low light.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  5. Purdy

    Purdy Chirping

    Jul 4, 2011
    Sparta, Michigan
    wait until its dark in side the coop, pick-up a shy chicken or two and put them on the roost bar, this mite take a few nights of training.
    after you move them and its dark, they mostly will not move back, and stay roosted
    The pecking order will kick-in and the others will follow.
    second tip: chicken like unpainted roost bars better then painted ones.
    I like to use tree limbs as roosts bars, about 2 inches round.
    leave the bark on the on the branch, it will help clean the feet of your chickens, and is good
    for their well being.
  6. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Songster

    Dec 21, 2010
    Thanks for all the suggestions everybody! The coop they moved from did have tree limbs as roosts so that may be an issue. But I really don't think they have even ventured up the ladder to see the roosting area - except for the one hen whose enthusiasm for mealworms made her more adventurous. The current roosts are about 2.5"Wx1.5"H with the top edges rounded. I had painted them green since everything else was white and I thought the contrast might help the hens see them. I will try setting them on the roost after dark for a few nights and, if that doesn't do it, I will get some branches to replace the current roosts. I will also put a temporary roost under the platform.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by