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How do chickens learn to roost??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LindsaySinai, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. LindsaySinai

    LindsaySinai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2011
    San Diego
    I have a temporary coop for my 2 5month old cochins and I think mice or rats might be going in at night and harassing them. There's feathers everywhere but I've checked them over and over for mites and things like that but there's no sign and I've seen mice/rats around. I put a perch in there awhile ago hoping that they would sleep on it and out of the way of anything trying to get to there food at night but they havent used it once. How do they learn to use it??? Isn't it a natural thing they're supposed to do??
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I've never had to teach mine to roost, but from reading on here, lots of folks do. They set them on the roost after dark each night -- I think usually about a week of this does it. What's natural for them, I believe, is to find the highest spot, so you will read on here to have the roost higher than the nest boxes, to prevent them from sleeping in the nests. I have a couple who kept sleeping in spots higher than the roost, and had to block one of them off to prevent injury. One hen still sleeps on a storage container which is higher than the roosts, but she is the loner of the flock anyway. The rest cuddle together on the roost.

    There are a couple of considerations here. My roost is 3' high and I have large fowl. They fly about 6' horizontally to come down off the roost. Larger birds can injure hips, etc. jumping straight down, so people put in ladders or steps of some sort if there is not much horizontal space. Another is, they can manage on a round roost if it is wide enough, but for a large bird, something like a broomstick is probably not very comfortable for them because their feet don't wrap as much as some birds' do. Mine are the wide side of a 2x4 and they walk around on it as if it were solid ground.

    If they're not sleeping in the nests, which in time will mean poopy eggs, I personally wouldn't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  3. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my girls out in their coop/run at 4 weeks old (May '11). At first they huddled up in a corner to sleep. I placed them up on the roost several times during the day so they could walk around on it and "get the idea". After a couple days they began roosting on their own. Just make sure the roost is proper for their feet. It should be either a tree branch that is 1 1/2-2" thick or a 2x3 or 2x4 with the narrower end up and rounded over to simlate a tree branch. This is much better for their feet than roosting on a flat surface. Also, their roost should be higher than their nesting box because they will instintively perch on the highest spot. This will keep them from sleeping in their nesting boxes (2nd pic)

    This first pic is the first morning I went and found them up on the roost
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. WillowTreeFarm

    WillowTreeFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 21, 2011
    Toledo
    Perhaps your birds are going through their juvenile moult and that is the cause of all the feathers?
     
  5. LindsaySinai

    LindsaySinai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2011
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    Would cochins moult at 5 months??

    And...They're arent any nesting boxes in the coop since I was planning on putting them with my other 2 in the other coop. It's literally just a 3ft wide, 5ft long, 3ft high run with plyboard covering an entire half of it. I shoved a 1x1 through the chicken wire from one side to the other to make a make do roost. Is that to small?? For two nights I placed my cochins in the other coop with the nice EE and put the mean EE in the temporary coop. The EE slept on the roost right away.
     

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