chickens will not roost in coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bowdh, Nov 19, 2008.

  1. bowdh

    bowdh New Egg

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    Nov 19, 2008
    I have a small flock of 6 laying hens. They are kept in a pen with LOTS of room to hunt and peck. They visit the coop duing the day to rest and lay eggs, however, at night I've noticed that they have been grouping up and sleeping outside. They are doing this even when it is 25 degrees outside. I've been putting them in by hand to keep them from freezing but does anyone know why they resist roosting in the coop? What am I missing?

    The coop is 3wx4hx6l, totaly inclosed with nesting boxs and a small hole for them to come and go. Thanks for your ideas
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Welcome to BYC! Does your coop also have an actual roost inside? Is it higher than the nestboxes? Using a 2x4 with the 4" side up is a good roost.

    I would continue to go out at night and physically put each chicken on the roost inside and hope they start to understand that that is the better place to sleep.

    Your chickens are far likelier to fall prey to predators if they are sleeping outside at night (unless you have a very Ft. Knox type run).

    I am also curious... do you use artificial light for your chickens? If you are and it goes off after dark, chickens are often not able to find their way back into the coop and will huddle outside. If you are using artificial light you should set it to come on very early in the morning to make up for the time needed and have it turn off in daylight hours so that the chickens use sundown as their cue to go to their roost.
     
  3. Ginger Chic

    Ginger Chic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't you close the pop-door at night? We have 6 & they cruise in at sundown/dusk. We then close the door behind them to keep predators out. We were a little concerned that one of the Golden Comets couldn't get up to the roost so we built her a ramp. Everyone sleeps up high now.
     
  4. bowdh

    bowdh New Egg

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    they do have a roost but only one. Should I have one per bird? I figurged they would nest in the boxes. No artifical light is used right now. I've been told to use it that they need lots of light but I've also heard that they need dark places to lay eggs. I don't know what to believe! As you can tell my experiance is limited but my intentions are good.
     
  5. BethinIrving

    BethinIrving Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens just recently quit sleeping in their shelter and have been perching on a bush that's nearby.

    A neighborhhood cat, I think, is what caused this. I've caught it many times in my backyard at night.
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could it be that it is darker in the coop at sundown, than it is outdoors? It so, by the time they would head in to roost, they may not be able to see inside the coop. That could keep them outdoors.

    Steve
     
  7. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    bowdh said:
    they do have a roost but only one. Should I have one per bird? I figurged they would nest in the boxes. No artifical light is used right now. I've been told to use it that they need lots of light but I've also heard that they need dark places to lay eggs. I don't know what to believe! As you can tell my experiance is limited but my intentions are good.

    One roost is just fine as long as it is long enough for them all to sit next to each other. Generally you should allow about 10" of roost space for each standard size chicken. They will likely crush together and take up smaller space than that but not necessarily. If you can easily add an extra roost that is just fine and gives them an option of not being by someone they may not get along with.

    The "using artificial light" issue is a totally personal one that you need to research and make your own decision about. I, personally, do not use artificial light as I like to let my hens rest in the winter months and be more 'natural'. Using artificial light is solely to get them to lay more eggs. Many people don't want to see their egg production slow down or stop in the winter so they add the extra light to keep that production up. Sometimes these people sell eggs and have customers they need to supply and sometimes they just need/want the eggs themselves.

    Hens do like to lay in dark, cozy little places. Thus, having enclosed nest boxes that are around 12x12 or so are wonderful nests.

    You DO NOT want your chickens sleeping/roosting in your nest boxes. They will poop in there and you will end up with poopy eggs and that gets old real fast. Yuk! That's why you want your roost(s) higher than your nest boxes as chickens will tend to sleep in the highest place they can get to.

    You're doing a great job... keep it up!​
     

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