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Hens who don't roost. Is this normal??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FeatherofHorse, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. FeatherofHorse

    FeatherofHorse New Egg

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    Nov 15, 2015
    Western CT
    I recently added 5 hens to the 2 I already had.
    When I close them up at night, 4 will either be on top of each other in a nesting box or on top of each other in a corner on the ground. 1 is usually on a roost along with my original 2.
    There is roughly 9ft total of roost space. My original 6 hens in this chicken house had to problem with the accomidations.
    Perhaps they can't jump up? A pecking order isn't in place yet and the new ones still aren't accepted by the old? I wouldn't think it's cold weather related....we have had some pretty mild weather.
    I have closed off the nesting boxes since no one laying now anyway.
    What I'm wondering is if this in anyway could harm their wellbeing? Or should I really not miss sleep over it.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Thet will likely begin to roost in their own good time. Possibly they fear pecking from the dominant hens - roosting time seems to me to be the most disorderly time of day for chickens until they sort out who is going to sleep where.

    CT
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes, this.

    You could add another roost just slightly lower than the existing one.

    How old are the new 'hens'....and how long have yo had them??
     
  4. FeatherofHorse

    FeatherofHorse New Egg

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    Nov 15, 2015
    Western CT
    I have had the new ones for 18 days. I was told 4 of them were slightly over one year, and 1 was just hatched in July.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's not too long, it can take quite awhile (like months) for integration to get to the point of roost sharing.....
    ......even my established flock bicker over roosts, the youngest still mostly use the lowest separate roost.

    Sleeping on the floor isn't a bad thing, per se, but still.....I'd put another roost up.
     
  6. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2015
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    So this is my first flock, I have 1 over a year she accepted the roosts and nesting boxes from day 1. About a week later once the run and final details were complete we brought home 5 pullets between 2 and 6 months of age. The first week with all 6 only the first hen was allowed on the roost eventually she let a second up. But I under estimated roost space and so last week we added another bar becuase one of the older pullets was seeming stressed, that night we placed her on the roost she found a spot with the others and is now integrating with the flock much better. The last 3 to roost started last night, it was one of the older pullets and the 2 younger ones I wasn't as worried becuase she has been mothering them the past 3 weeks since the move. Right now I get 2 on one roost and the other 4 on the second roost. The 2 are of course my first and second which also currently hold the position of head hen and second in command.

    I would suggest watch for stress, are the 4 integrating with the others as well both in the coop at night and in the run during the day. Try moving a few to the roosts at night (maybe on the other side away from the bossy hens) to see if they might willingly adapt. Or add another bar so the uppers and lowers all feel they have safe yet separate accommodations.

    One of the things I saw was Mildred my head hen didn't like anyone within a certain range of her spot, whether over under or beside anyone who was not Henrietta (second in command) was not permitted. Once the second bar was in place they all had more room to spread out and find thier own best spot, now she doesn't seem to mind as long as no one takes "her" spot
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
  7. FeatherofHorse

    FeatherofHorse New Egg

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    Nov 15, 2015
    Western CT
    in the beginning when I first got the new chickens I'd wait until after dark and take them out of the nesting boxes and set them on the roosts....well one was so out of it she fell off. Disrupted everyone. Oops, didn't do that again.
    This evening there were 4 on the roosts and 2 on the floor.....getting pooped on. Only 6 total now, we lost one today.

    I do worry about their stress level, they mingled together much more today in the yard so perhaps we've had a break though. They are funny things tho. Hours of entertainment watching them interact.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I can see that happening. My roosts are 2x4 wide side up and lots of roost length, so that helps.
    I hold them both hands wrapped around to hold wings down, place feet on roost and hold on until they 'get their feet under them',
    then slowly release and put hand on back and on chest to kind of steady them..talking softly all the time.
     
  9. FeatherofHorse

    FeatherofHorse New Egg

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    Nov 15, 2015
    Western CT
    It was deffinatly my fault, probably just let go too soon. I was devistated that it had happened! Lol.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yeah, it can be alarming....all that flapping and screeching, but staying calm is one of your best tools.
    Talking softly and handling them regularly from early on teaches them they won't die if you hold them.
    Was doing some maintenance the other night and one got away from me(one that hadn't been handled being a broody chick, she went nuts!),
    knocking another off the roost...but she got back up on the roost her own, surprised me.
    They're tougher than we think.
     

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