Chicks piling up in corner of coop

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NoisyCricket, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. NoisyCricket

    NoisyCricket Songster

    Jun 3, 2011
    I was wondering if anyone has any advice or insights for me. I have 5 and 6 week old chicks who are acting strangely at dark. I still have a heat lamp in their coop, which is on at night or during the day if it is cold. During the day everyone comes and goes through the door, into the pen, with no problems. At dusk, when everyone goes inside, a group of them have started to pile on top of each other in one corner. I am wondering if they may be chasing a shadow from the light, as they all seem to be looking up at the wall? So far no one has been injured, but I am nervous that someone will end up getting trampled. Last night 2 of the older birds were pinned beneath others for a short time, before they wiggled out.

    No one uses the roost pole at bedtime, (or an hour after dark when I have checked on them). One group is piled in the corner, where they eventually just lay down to sleep and the others are grouped around the edges of the light. They are evenly spread throughout the coop, and on the roost poles by morning. The light has a red bulb, and the chicks are a mix of hatchery stock - mostly EE, reds, white production, black sex-link, with some hamburgs, a barred rock, a Marens, 2 welsummers, and 2 bantams. I have no adult birds as I am just getting into chickens. I am planning on moving the light to the other side of the coop tomorrow, to see what happens. I moved it a couple of feet tonight, but it didn't make a difference.
  2. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Songster

    Apr 5, 2011
    SE Georgia
    I have 15 chicks and 9 turkeys, all 4 weeks old that do this every night. They all crowd together to sleep. I don't think it's abnormal, but if you have a large size difference within the group, somebody COULD get smothered, but I haven't had any problems yet, and I have two tiny bantams in with my group. [​IMG]
  3. mama24

    mama24 Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    GSO, NC
    I think they do it to feel more safe. [​IMG]
  4. NoisyCricket

    NoisyCricket Songster

    Jun 3, 2011
    Oh, so chicks my are just normal crazy then [​IMG] I do have one barred rock bantam that is very, very small and slow to develop, that I worry about, but she seems to know to stay out of the fray. Thank you!
    1 person likes this.
  5. NYRIR

    NYRIR Songster

    May 13, 2010
    Yep...perfectly normal.They panic at dusk for a while.As they mature they will just go to roost and not "pile" like that.
  6. TN Henny Penny

    TN Henny Penny In the Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    We are just getting started with our first chickens that are now 15 weeks old. They all piled up in a corner for many weeks. I think most of them were sleeping on the perches when they were around 8 weeks old.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't know where you are or what you consider cold, but at five weeks, they do not need the heat unless you are in some place out of the ordinary. That heat is there to make you feel better, not them, unless you have some strange conditions. As long as they have room to get away from it, it won't hurt them.

    You'll get a lot of different answers as to when brooder raised chicks start roosting. With mine, it is around 10 to 12 weeks age, but it varies a lot with different ones of us. Until they decide to roost, mine sleep together in a corner of the brooder or coop. If they get scared or panic, they can really pile on top of each other and chicks can get hurt. But usually for sleeping, they just crowd close together.
  8. FiveHens

    FiveHens Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Grouping around "the edge of the light" might be a sign that they don't need the light/it is too hot. Of course, they could also just like to.
  9. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Songster

    Jun 21, 2010
    North Idaho
    Mine did that same thing for 2 1/2 months then got on the roost that was 3 feet up and smashed together there for a month and last week they all started usuing the 6 foot roost and spread out nicely and are 4 months old.
  10. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I agree with RR no heat lamp is needed. I would ween them away from the light. Maybe put them up on their roost that way a few will probably start roosting. Its monkey see monkey do with chickens.

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