Do chickens put their head under the wing at night?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vermontgal, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I was talking with my Dad about the problem of frozen combs/wattles, he asked about whether chickens tuck their heads under their wings at night.

    I guess they don't because otherwise there wouldn't be an issue about frostbite. Why don't they? (Can we please reintroduce a few brain cells back into chicken genetics, and develop a breed that will do this?)

    I suppose it is not possible to train a chicken to put its head under its wing...? That would be just too useful.
  2. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    They do... but the roosters sometimes can't get the whole comb under a wing. As long as they're not roosting in the wind, frostbite isn't really going to be an issue.
    If you give them proper housing, you shouldn't have problems with frostbite.
  3. flakey chick

    flakey chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    I think it is a bit like... Do horses sleep standing up? Yes they do, but often they sleep lying down too.(Or for that matter do humans sleep on their backs?). Last night when I went to check on my girls, one had her head under her wing and the other didn't.
  4. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ours that sleep on roosts tend not to tuck their heads. They just fluff up and scrunch up. The ones that tend to sleep in boxes or on top of things will alot of times tuck their heads. Most of the roosters that we have had are up most of the night crowing for odd reasons so I have never seen them tuck. I don't think they sleep long enough.
  5. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    When I look at mine at night on the web cam, they just look like they scrunched down on the roost, too. Their feet are nicely covered, but I don't see them tucking their heads under their wing. They look like they just retracted their neck, so it's not sticking up as far away from their body as it is when they're running around during the day.
  6. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmm. Thanks for this info. Scrunching down or putting the head over the wing... does not seem as useful from the frostbite perspective as actually putting it UNDER the wing. But... if they don't then I guess they don't.

    (Many people also contributed to this thread under "Managing your flock" despite the fact that I said I was moving it over here... folks on that thread said that chickens don't put the head actually under the wing, but sort of on top of the wing, between the wing and the spine.)
  7. nightshade

    nightshade Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have some that do and some that don't, it also does not seem to matter if they are hens or roos, both do it.
  8. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Mrs. AK-Bird-Brain :

    They do... but the roosters sometimes can't get the whole comb under a wing. .

    My bantam roo just gets under someone elses wing.​
  9. SusanCroteau

    SusanCroteau Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 11, 2014
    I have read to put vaseline on their combs and wattles, so my husband and I went out when they were asleep and lathered them up.. they didn't seem to care for it and kept shaking their heads. The next day I checked on them and all their combs and wattles were black.. of course I was freaking out thinking they all had froze and they had bad frost bite. So I picked one up and felt its was warm.. and dirty.They had got into their dust bath pot and the vaseline had soaked up the dirt. Its 30 here right now.. but not dark, I tried to get them in but that was useless. We do put a red heat lamp on them at night.. 250 watts! If using make sure it is far enough away from the walls.. you don't want a fire. I do worry about them and we have had a sold spell the last week or so. But I can't keep them in.. the minute the door opens its like a herd of cattle stampeding coming at you.They don't care how cold it is. Next.. snow and their reaction to that! I worry like you!

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