Chickens won't roost after change to coop!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Captain Awesome, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2011
    I'm a bit worried! I changed the coop around a bit last Saturday. I moved their high roost over a bit away from the wall (too many dribbles down the wall!) and added another couple of 2x4 pcs and made the roost up there a bit more roomy. I also put in a new feeder which required the moving of their stairs up to the roost.

    The first night (Saturday) I went out to shut their coop door (a bit later than usual because we were at a party) and found one hen in a corner outside the coop nestled in some straw. Looked like she was pretty comfortable. Two hens were pacing the floor. The other three hens were standing on the stairs. This sort of thing has never happened before! Every other night they would go in all by themselves and right up to the top roost.

    The second night (Sunday) I went out just after dark and found one hen outside again and all five others roosting on the stairs about a foot off the ground!

    What is happening?! Could my changes be so catastrophic that they are freaking out? But I made the coop better for them! Can't they understand that?!

    BTW they absolutely love the new feeder and its location.
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Beautiful. Your birds are demonstrating their imprinting tendencies on roost site. I take advantage of same imprinting to get a flock to move as a unit from one location to another.

    Actually, they are like some people in that they are afraid or have difficulty adapting to change. To expidite adoption of new roost location, at about time they start wanting to fly up to a roost, place dominant bird up where you want it. If like mine, it will give a roosting call that will cause flockmates to at least consider flying up to be with that bird. Keys to making such work is it be dominant bird and you do it as birds show interest in going to roost. Somehow my harem masters (rooster leading a group of hens / offspring) can influence where balance of his harem roost in a single night.
  3. bloom chicks

    bloom chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2011
    I have experience the same thing the past few days. I put sand down where they roost and my rooster wouldn't leave the coop for 2 days because the sand was in front of the door way (like a sand box.). [​IMG] I had to boot him out this morning. The girls aren't crazy about it either but it doesn't stop them from going outside.
  4. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2011
    Whew! I went out tonight to shut their door and found all six of them up in the upper roost where they used to go. Seems like they got used to the new arrangement up there finally! Only took a week to do.
  5. mendolover

    mendolover New Egg

    Nov 22, 2012
    Connecticut US
    I'm having a problem getting our three pullets to roost in their new coop after spending the summer in a too small coop where they had no choice but to sleep in the nesting boxes. They are sleeping on top of their new nesting boxes on sort of a terrace setup. I will pick them up and place them on the roost when I shut them in at night, but they stand on the roost like they don't know what to do. Also having a tough time getting them to lay in the boxes. I think leaving an egg in one of the boxes helps but can't really tell. They never were used to roosting so maybe that has affected them. Happy little ladies otherwise. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thanks!
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Hi mendolover; Welcome to BYC.
    You seem to be doing every thing you should. The new coop is a change to them, and any change can stress them. It will take a while for them to get used to the new coop and the roosts. You can also use a golf ball or any egg like object to tell them where to lay.

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