Chicks raised by silkie refuse to roost

LeaPea

In the Brooder
Jul 27, 2017
8
3
19
Hi All, My silkie hatched out 3 Orpington eggs and has been an excellent mum for the past 12 weeks, however, mum and chicks refuse to roost. The silkie has always preferred the box. I have one other chook (a bossy French Marans) who is happy to perch, but the silkie and the chicks all squeeze into the nest box every night. By the morning, the box is full of poop, which is not ideal. I have tried blocking off the nest box at night, but they just sit under the perches and get pooped on by the Marans. Will they eventually learn?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Jul 23, 2018
14,868
112,034
1,542
Apalachin, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Hi All, My silkie hatched out 3 Orpington eggs and has been an excellent mum for the past 12 weeks, however, mum and chicks refuse to roost. The silkie has always preferred the box. I have one other chook (a bossy French Marans) who is happy to perch, but the silkie and the chicks all squeeze into the nest box every night. By the morning, the box is full of poop, which is not ideal. I have tried blocking off the nest box at night, but they just sit under the perches and get pooped on by the Marans. Will they eventually learn?
If the mother never roosted, the chicks won't. If they are already 12 weeks old, it doesn't sound like the mother did a hard weaning of them. When my broody weaned her chicks they stayed away from her but she had already trained them to the roost. After the weaning is when they started hiding in the nest boxes because they hadn't developed the confidence to secure a spot on the roost for themselves.

Each night at lock up and head count, I would simply remove them from the boxes and place them on the roost. In the dark with just enough light for me to see by. The roosting chickens left them alone because it was too dark to really do anything about the chicken next to them.

To this day, I still have an 8 month old pullet I pluck off the edge of a nest box every single night and put on a roost. It's not really a big deal for me. The rest of the 27 chickens put themselves up.
 

Beer can

Free Ranging
5 Years
Aug 12, 2014
8,941
13,459
641
Upstate NY
Pretty sure they will roost. Eventually they will become disinterested in 'mom' and her in them and do their own thing which will be to naturally roost. They don't have to be taught to it's a instinct.
Now those alien 'chickens' silkies, good luck with that not sure what they will do. I've had limited experience with them. Bunch I had didn't use the boxes I have a big coop might have helped. They just huddled in a corner (not under the roost so no poop on) for about a year and a half then started roosting.
 

BDutch

Crowing
May 19, 2015
951
3,205
297
the Netherlands
My Coop
My Coop
Close the space under the roost too for a start. Often it works great to train pullets to roost (See advice from Dobey). Changing habits takes a week or two in general but can take up to 6. And there is no garantee.

Maybe you can make another roost seperate from the Marans if the pullets are afraid of her/get picked. Maybe the pullets prefer a spot more close to the ground somewhere. Just for training. If they feel confident they will go higher themselves.
 
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