Hens won't use roosting poles...

Ima Chicken Lover

In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 13, 2010
I am new to all of the chicken loveliness. I love them much more than I thought I would! I have 9 hens. I started with 2 RIRs that my girlfriend was giving away. Then dear hubby brought me home a grab bag of what I believe to be 1 leghorn, 2 more RIRs, 2 buff or golden colored (he says sex link), 1 black (he says sex link) and 1 barred rock. I don't know what all of em are, but I love em anyway.

So the hubs built them an awesome coop and they love it. They laid in the boxes from day 1, but they won't roost on the roosting poles. I've tried putting them up on the poles so they'd get the idea, but only one showed some interest and now they are all just sleeping on the floor. Any ideas on how to get them up there and off of the floor?

Perhaps you can go out there at night and put them on the roosts. They shouldnt resist nor hop back down on the floor in the dark. You might have to do this several nights in a row til they get the hang of it. (hopefully lol)
We used large wooden dowels that are normally used as closet rods. 2x4s would have been a lot cheaper!

dawg53, I see you're in extreme SE GA. I used to live there also, now I'm extreme NE FL. LOL. I may give that a try. I tried putting them on there before, maybe we'll give it another whirl.

First, what are you using for roosts? Chickens prefer not to have to grasp with their feet all night, like say, a parakeet would. Chickens will grasp with their feet just long enough to get stable, then release their feet and rest on their keel bone. For this reason, 2x4s, with the wider side up, work best for roosts. Resting on the keel bone and covering their feet with their feathers helps keep the feet warm and toasty, i.e., not frostbitten too.

Second, sometimes it takes awhile for them to learn to roost, especially if they didn't have baby roosts in the brooder. They'll get the idea in time.

Lastly, you want to be sure that your roosts are higher than your nestboxes. Chickens instinctively want to roost as high as possible at night. If your nestboxes are higher than your roosts, that's where they will go to roost. Poop covered eggs will be the end result.
If the 'poles' are round, that could be cause. They like to sit on something flat...they are not like wild birds...they do not lock their toes around something and go to sleep.

Our roosts are 2x4's with the 4" side up so the girls have a nice area to rest on...in the Winter they cover their feet while on the roost to keep them warm.

Good luck...you have a great husband...I had to beg for 3 years before mine gave in, now he thinks they are the greatest things.

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Ok. Roost poles are definitely higher than the nest boxes, but round wooden dowels, probably not the best choice for a chicken that doesn't want to hold on all night long!!! I could have saved a lot of money just using 2x4s. Argh!
Thanks Boo Boos Mama, he is great. He thought I was nuts at first, but I've supported him through so many lame brained things I guess he thought he owed me one.
Yes, What Gritstar said! He/she (srry don't know which!) hit the nail on the head! I completely and totally, 100% agree!

When my chooks were starting to roost we made them a sort of "ladder" out of 2x4's.... but make sure that it is slanty and the bars are far enough apart so that they don't poop on each other!

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