Chickens won't roost!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tomatomudhead, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. tomatomudhead

    tomatomudhead Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    Hi all,

    This is making me a bit frustrated - I have 16 chickens in a fresh air coop. Right now they spend their whole day there (plenty of room). They are 8 weeks old. Biggest problem I have is that they won't roost!

    First some of them decided to roost by the front door, which is lower than the roost bars. Then I blocked the place by the front door and since then 5-6 are roosting, the others are piling up in the front corners of the house. A couple nights ago I went out and put some of them on the roost bar so that a total of 13 were up there. Haven't done that since, and the rest are all back to sleeping in the corners.

    I have 11 Red Star's, 4 Minorcia's and a Silver Spangled Rooster. The SS Rooster and 4-5 Red Stars will now go on the roost bars, none of the others will.

    Any ideas? Is this just a time thing?

    I've never had this problem before.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida

    It is just a time thing. They will start roosting when they are ready. [​IMG]
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    It is a time thing that can be manipulated. I also want to push young birds into using elevated roost so they can be free ranged around a roost that is open 24 hours. What I have been doing is imprinting chicks on a plastic box lying on its side that has capacity to accomodate all chicks without piling. Imprinting takes place in brooder. Then chicks moved in box at three weeks to coop where box is layed on side. If all working well chicks will hide in box most of day except to feed and drink. The box is something they know as non-threatening from brooder. They will roost / lay in it at night. After a few nights of this the box is elevated a foot or so and they will go up to roost into box they know. After a couple nights of that you can remove box and chicks will roost in location they last roosted in box. You are trying to trip some switches with this process. I get all my birds roosting up by 8 weeks, know it can be done by 6 weeks and think it can be done by 4 weeks if weather warm enough.
    1 person likes this.
  4. SilkieCreekFarm

    SilkieCreekFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 31, 2010
    Quote:Agree with everyone else it's a time thing. However when they get older and their roosting patterns changes, you probably should investigate. My very first flock is free range and I noticed they did not want to enter their coop at nite. Later I discover the reason why.[​IMG] I had an opening in my pen which allowed a predator to enter and kill some of my chickens. If you have the time to study them for when they are small to older chickens, you'll will detect easily if something is wrong.
  5. 1AcreRooster

    1AcreRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a 2 1/2 year old JG hen hen who never has roosted, sleeps on the floor. I think shes just lazy!
  6. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Until yesterday, half of mine would roost, the other half huddled in a corner and slept. Yesterday, we introduced them to their new coop/run, and first night out they all slept on the roosts. Differences...firstly, there is probably triple the roost space. Had one long one before, now I have 4 of them, 4 feet long. Also, the old roost was probably a 1x1. Now I'm using a 2x4, wide side up. Also, the old roost was maybe 8 inches off the ground and they probably only had a few inches of extra head room. The new ones are 2 feet up with 2 feet above them. So who knows what made the difference....
  7. tomatomudhead

    tomatomudhead Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2011
    My longest roost bar is a 2x4, but I put in on edge. Would it be better to put it wide side up? I worried that it would sag (it's 8 feet long) and that the chickens couldn't wrap their feet around it with the wide side up....... on edge they can at least grasp onto the top and 2 sides........

    What's better, on edge or wide side up?


  8. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    Quote:My JG has trouble getting up to the roosting bar. So I have a couple of blocks in there for her to step her way up and then jump the final jump to the bar. But it's still a struggle for her compared to my smaller birds.

    I had also read that if your roosting bar is too high, they will sleep on the ground. Which is fine. Due to their large size, they are prone to breaking bones in their legs if they jump from too high a perch.
  9. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    Quote:They don't really "grasp" like birds do. They sit. Mine seem to prefer the wide side to a round or thin side up. An eight ft board could have an extra support or 2 in the middle and not sag with the extra chicken weight.

    Mine didn't regularly roost until 16 weeks or so. I was NOT going to put them on the roost every night for a month. They figured it out. Except for one who just prefers the floor sometimes.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by