Help! How do I get them to roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lilmstw72, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. lilmstw72

    lilmstw72 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
    I'm new to this chicken thing and have learned a few things 'after the fact'...

    Here's my current question, How do I get my chickens to roost at night? When we set up our coop, my husband built a box which has now been separated to contain 2 nesting boxes on one side and an open area on the other. I thought they would sleep in the open area to help stay warm as it gets cold for winter. My original brahmas are about 23 wks and my new jersey giants are about 18 wks. All sleep together in the one box at night.

    We've also added 2 perches in the coop/run area but only 1 chicken roosts at night. Star, who is 2 years old and we purchased recently.
    We added more run space to the right of the boxes. Another 8x4 area fenced in with one of the other perches.

    Should I block the boxes completely until they start roosting at night? Don't they need to go in a smaller area at night when it becomes cold to stay warm?

    From the front of coop:

    To go into the boxes:

    Where the cuddle at night:
  2. thegoldengirls

    thegoldengirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2009
    Central NY
    Mine will sit on the outdoor perches during the day, but at night, everyone goes inside to roost.
    They want to feel protected and safe from predators at night.
    If you have perches inside, I think they'd be more likely to roost on them.
    Mine are made from recycled 1x3 boards, so there is a lot of room for them to rest on them. It also gives them room for their toes to be completely covered by their bodies... especially during our cold winter nights.

    Hope this helps!
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    They want to be inside, on a perch, where nothing can see them. They will go to the highest place that is inside. My younger ones (3 months old) still huddle on the floor together [​IMG].

    Since you are in Michigan, your winters will be cold. If you click on "coop designs" at the top, then select "small coops", you can see what others have done (although there are lots of fancy coops on there- you can wing it and do your own thing as I and many others have done, unless you go for fancy! [​IMG]).

    They like to be very sheltered in the winter. I hope you get a chance to look at others' coops. Also, there are lots of threads on "winterizing" the coops:

    It's hard to tell, but it looks to me like you could rig something up for them with your current setup that would make them get on a roost and be hidden too. Take a look at this thread that I was just on talking with someone (if you like):if you scroll down you will see that she added a roost on top of a board that she placed on top of the nest boxes to get her birds out of the poop and on top, which they love.
  4. lilmstw72

    lilmstw72 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2010
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Everyone is correct that chickens crave cover, even during the day, but especially at night. Your coop, while very cozy-looking, lacks adequate cover except in the box areas.

    Once you manage to get the coop enclosed, then block off the boxes for two or three nights, and place each chicken on the perch. That's what I do to instill the idea in my youngsters who are new to coop living, fresh out of the brooder.

    It won't take them but a couple of nights of you showing them what the perch is for to get the idea that it's the best place to sleep.

    PS, don't you just adore your Brahamas?
  6. koley7

    koley7 New Egg

    Nov 17, 2008
    I had a problem when my hens were young and moved out of the brooder and into their first coop. they would all huddle together right in front of the big person door so we couldn't get into the coop. None would go up onto the roosts i'd put in there, so each night, after it was dark, i would go in there (with headlamp flashlight) and pick them up and place them up on the roosts. i had to do this for a few nights, but they eventually got it. They always crowd up on the highest perch, using the lower ones as a step to get up there. I use 2"-3" diameter branches from wall to wall for perches. they like them and use them, sometimes even during the day. I have a set outside too. Good Luck!
    It may be a good idea to also block off the boxes at night so it's not an option for them to go in there. They'll eventually get it!

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