Hens pile up to sleep at night: How do I change that?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barry Natchitoches, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I keep reading that chickens are supposed to sleep on roosts.

    But nobody has ever told my chickens that, and as a result, they prefer to sleep in one large pile at night. They have prefered that since the night we got them home from the feed store, at just two days old.

    Not only do they like to sleep in a pile, but for some odd reason, they always sleep right there at the door to their chicken coop. Five chickens are currently sharing a chicken "hotel" that is 13 feet by 7 1/2 feet by 6 feet tall, and they all pile up at the door, thus blocking me from being able to come in at night.

    Is there any way to teach these birds to sleep on their roosts?

    Or at least to move their collective little carcasses to another corner of their coop?
  2. Geo

    Geo New Egg

    Oct 31, 2008
    Chuckey TN.
    We just turned our first batch of RiR's out on Thanksgiving day. We put them in the coop at a tad over 6 weeks old. They were doing the exact same thing so we added a lamp at night just to see what would happen and they seem much happier now:) They are spread out and scratching around now.Seems like they are much more happy with the lamp on them,It's only a 125 watt flood....but it makes a difference in my opinion..

    hope this helped:)
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    How old are they?

    If they are a month or two old, you can start teaching them to sit on the roost. It entails going out just before dark and setting each fuzzy carcass up on the roost, then going back 15 min later to repeat. Then, cycle through this for about a week and they'll eventually learn the roost is where they should sleep.
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Are they cold? What climate are you in?
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I put a broom handle in the chicks brooder when they were 3 days old 1" up and at a week I put it 2" up. When they were a month I put them and the brooder in the nursery coop where I have one 2" roost and one 3" roost a foot up. They get up on the roost most of the time but I find some on the floor in the pine shavings. I do have a 175 watt red heat lamp over the roost about 3' up. I leave the brooder in their coop for about a week then take it out. My first brood I did what silkiechicken suggested and put their little fuzzy butts on the roosts.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  6. Well, first off, what breed are they ??

    I have a silkie pile in the corner of the barn EVERY night. Yep, I have to pick up as many as i can and haul their fuzzy butts into the wire mesh stalls were the REST of the crowd has a corner pile.

    What is really a pain now is that some of the ROOS have discovered that the silkie pile really is not all that bad and are right there with them.

    The plymouth rocks and the big cochin along with the german hamberg has made their way to the pile.

    I must relocate 25 pounds of birds every night. You think they would learn, but NOOOOOO.

    I am considering taking the horse Muck Bucket that has a big bucket and a frame with wheels and putting thier collective little feathered butts in their and dumping the whole lot out into the stalls.

    Lets see how they like that !! [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2008
  7. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2008
    Sounds like to me that they might be cold. Mine used to pile up like that when they were little, added a light and they were fine.
  8. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Chillin' With My Peeps

    My hens did much the same thing: They all wanted to be beak first in the same corner of the coop. This was even during warm/moderate temperatures.
    I tried to encourage them to at least use a different corner by putting something in their preferred corner, but it didn't work.
    I've since decided they are quirky little birds and let them do what they do. Unless they get sick or injured I simply laugh at them and let them go about their ways.

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Quote:Good decision. There's no harm involved in them not roosting if they choose not to. I always seem to have some that prefer to sleep on the floor or in a nest-so what?
  10. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mine do this also and it has made for some problems with egg laying and brooding behavior. But it really isn't that bad. My two broody hens laid eggs in the sleeping pile are then went broody on that area, so the other two chickens went to sleep where they were sitting on their eggs. They didn't really seem to mind, but all the reading I've done says broody hens want to be left alone. They all seem to have worked everything out just fine. But I have a small flock (4 birds) and a very mild rooster. I wouldn't sweat it.

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