Chickens still not roosting...using nest boxes instead!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TammyTX, May 18, 2009.

  1. TammyTX

    TammyTX Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 16, 2009
    I've read here that others have had problems with their chickens not wanting to roost. I want to know what causes this behavior. Any theories? Do I have insecure chickens, or what?

    My chickens are 13 weeks old and they are not using the roosts. It's very frustrating because they are using the nest boxes. They roost on the raised lip of the box which can't be comfortable. They are even getting good at balancing on the slanted tops of the nest boxes.

    I plan on stapling cardboard over the front of the nest to keep them out. They need to be power washed and sanitized before egg laying.

    The roost are about 4 foot high but there is a ledge at 3 foot and a ladder to help them up. I don't remember my other chickens taking so long to roost.

    So tell me, what is lacking in their chicken life that they won't roost??
  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Nothing, they found the spot they like to roost, it's really that simple.
    I you can remove the nest boxes and force them to roost where you want them as they won't be needing the boxes for a while, if not blocking the holes is what you need to do to prevent the behavior.
    I still have a couple of two year olds that try to roost on the perches in front of the nest boxes each night until I drive them off and shut up the boxes.

    The roosting behavior is a natural behavior but in my years of experience I have found that chicks raised with hens pick up the behavior sooner, momma leads them up on the roosts then chicks raised without a hen. I have noticed that a group of mixed chicks without a hen (chicks of different breeds) will pick up roosting in stages. The "older" breeds will start to roost sooner than the "newer" breeds.
  3. Nikki28

    Nikki28 David Bowie is my co-pilot

    Dec 15, 2008
    Our girls were using their nest boxes until my boyfriend literally picked them up and moved them to the perch at dusk. It only took a couple days after that for them to start roosting on their perch. Hopefully this will work with your girls.
  4. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    when my chickens first started roosting I had a few that wanted to roost on the ledges on the nest boxes. I covered all of the nest boxes and ledges for a few days and they all ended up moving to the roosts. Be sure you have enough roost space for all your chickens and cover up where you don't want them to roost and they should find the right spot.
  5. Tad

    Tad Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    South TX on the border
    My chickens were nest box poopers until they started to lay, then on their own they switched to using the roost...just worked out that way?
  6. LovinMyHensInNC!

    LovinMyHensInNC! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds familiar! I am going on week two of having to put large balls in my nest box-roosting-poopers' nest boxes in the evening to force them to roost! When will they learn to be a chicken! [​IMG]

    I hope yours catch on faster!
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    My birds were sleeping in the nest boxes. I would put milk crates in the nest boxes in the evenings and take them out in the mornings for a week. It seems to have worked. I did it with my hens and with my pullets. I HATE poopy eggs.
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Cover the nest boxes and go out each evening after dark and move the chickens to the roosts. You may have to do this for a few days or even a week, but they will eventually get the idea. It's important that you be consistent and move them every night.
  9. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    I don't have this problem so far. I have some chicks that I put back in the brooder at night because it is cold here. The rest of them all 25 birds sat about 7' high on a shelf that is only 18" by 32". I don't know how they all fit there but it is fine with me because they take up less space. I would think as it warms up that they will spread out.
  10. OKbirdwatcher

    OKbirdwatcher Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    NE Oklahoma
    Quote:Me too, cmom. I remember washing poopy eggs for my grandma as a child. I thought that was a fun job back then. [​IMG] So far [​IMG], since the girls are roosting on the roost, we haven't had even one poopy egg.

    Had a few with a bit of mud from their feet during our recent monsoon, but that has cleared up for now. Just beautiful, clean eggs.[​IMG]

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