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Chickens roosting all day?!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by geronimo, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. geronimo

    geronimo New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Wyoming, Australia
    Hi, I am a chicken keeping newbie. I have 6 hens - 2 Araucanas, 2 Welsummers and 2 Plymouth Rocks. They are all fairly young (under 9 months) and I just got my first (araucana) egg yesterday. Over the last week or so the Plymouth Rocks have decided to stay on their perch all day. They won't even come down when I tempt them with scratch mix. I have had to pick them up and put them on the ground so that they go out and get food and water. They are the biggest chickens and generally rule the run when they are outside so I'm a bit confused as to why they are behaving like this. It's only the Plymouth Rocks that do this. Otherwise they all seem to get along well and the coop and run are larger than they really need. Space and aggression don't seem to be issues. Once I put them on the floor they spend the day outside like normal, they just won't come down if left to their own devices. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them...
     
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi there, and welcome!

    I'm not really sure what's going on with your girls to be honest. It's a bit unusual, isn't it?

    I'm wondering how high your roost is? Is there any chance it might be high enough that the jumping and landing is hurting them?

    I know it's a bit of a reach, but my BO's are very big birds and won't jump from the top roost at all.

    In fact, the one time they did do it, they made such a thump as they hit the ground that I was worried for them.

    I ended up installing some stadium style steps for them, and now they walk down the steps instead of jumping from the top roost each morning!

    I don't know if this could be your issue or not (I don't own any Plymouth Rock chickens and am not familiar with their size) but maybe it's something to consider?

    Good luck with it! I really do hope you figure out what's going on.

    Maybe they just like being picked up and cuddled by you! [​IMG]

    - Krista
     
  3. geronimo

    geronimo New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Wyoming, Australia
    Thanks for your reply Krista. You might be on to something. I do have a series of perches at different heights which they use to get to the top perch. Maybe they aren't so keen on coming back down the other way?... I will give your suggestion a try and see if they prefer a little ladder to climb down. They are still not fully grown yet and the top perch is only about 4 feet off the ground, so I don't think they would hurt themselves even if they jumped straight off the top perch. That said, they do seem to be a bit less agile than the Araucanas and Welsummers. They remind me a bit of my (45kg) Rottweiler puppy, quite docile and cumbersome and not really aware of how big they are. Could be they just need to develop a bit of confidence in jumping from perch to perch. I've got the day off tomorrow so I'll build them a little ladder and see if that fixes things...
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    I have three perches all up. The top one is about 3 - 4 feet off the ground and is a thick natural tree branch.

    Perches two and three are made of a 4" wide piece of timber with rounded edges, so that the bigger girls can thump on down and still feel steady on their feet.

    I made the second perch about a foot in front of the top perch, and a foot lower. The bottom perch is again a foot in front of the second perch and another foot lower, and sits about a foot off the ground.

    They seem quite happy to jump from perch to perch to get down, whereas I noticed they really hesitated about jumping the full 3 - 4 feet in one go. Like I said, they are big girls, and the rooster is a big boy too.

    Hope things improve for you there. I suspect you are right about them still needing confidence. Hopefully they will learn from the others too.

    Good luck!

    - Krista
     
  5. geronimo

    geronimo New Egg

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    Aug 13, 2014
    Wyoming, Australia
    Hi Krista, just a quick update to let you know that I made a ladder for the girls and lo behold! they were both out in the run when I went outside this morning. [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG] I guess that they are just growing a little bit too big for comfortable hopping between the perches. They are a bit ungainly compared to the Araucanas... Well the ladder did the trick so thanks for your advice. Two thumbs up!
     
  6. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,576
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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Oh YAY! Great result!

    Sometimes the suggestion of installing additional steps and perches of varying heights is frowned upon, but in my own very limited experience, sometimes the bigger birds just need them to get down safely.

    I know my girls are so very heavy, and like I said, the 'thump' when they hit the ground was frightening!

    I am so glad it worked for you.

    Congrats on the ladder-building!

    - Krista
     

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