How do you teach chicks to roost?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Willow's Meadow, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    My chicks have been in there coop for 2 days now. I have roosts in the coop but they don't seem to sleep on them. I put them up on there a couple times and they stayed there for 10 minutes or so. Then others would jump on. But they don't stay on them for very long and they don't sleep on them over night. How can I teach them to roost? They are only a month old. Should I just keep putting them on the roosts every night or let them figure it out themselves?

  2. boogiedog

    boogiedog Songster

    Apr 19, 2010
    Oakland hills, CA
    They will figure it out. Mine slept on the ground of the coop for a while before starting to roost.

    The bigger issue is making sure they know to go back into their coop, where they are safe. It took mine a few days to learn that - I had to wait until they settled down to sleep at dusk and pick them up and put them in the coop. Each night more of them "got it" until finally, around 3 days later, all went into the coop on their own. (And this was after keeping them locked in the coop for one week).
  3. They will figure it out. Our last batch would play on perches, but never sleep on them till about 6-7 weeks... some later. I have ONE 6 1/2 week old who roosts at night, and 11 who sleep on the floor.
    My theory: the instinct to perch won't kick in till the chick is big enough it wouldn't need to sleep with the hen for warmth/protection/comfort if hatched and raised by a broody.
  4. Willow's Meadow

    Willow's Meadow Songster

    Apr 16, 2010
    Ok thanks!!!!! [​IMG]
  5. Barry1963

    Barry1963 In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2010
    Madison, Tennessee
    My two six week olds, will nap on the roost during the day but still sleep on the floor huddled together at night, Im sure they will roost at night when theyre ready
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I think an adult chicken instinctively seeks a high point to sleep. As soon as they reach the stage where this instinct kicks in they will--in my experience it is a gradual process and not some where one night they're all on the floor and the next on the roost. Usually one or two start and the rest gradually join them. One thing I'm always do is make sure they they are roosting before turning them out to the yard, makes them easier to get in at night.
  7. Ravishaw

    Ravishaw Songster

    May 7, 2010
    i have 12 not so little pullets. They all roosted on the floor in the corner, then they moved to their overturned brooder (green tub I'd sit on and pass time on), now they all jump up to the high perch I made them in the coop.

    When they were little it was cooler, and they all huddled around the americaunas. Now that it's hot, they all avoid the americaunas.

  8. Mak

    Mak Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    Mine spent a few days huddled on the floor of the coop at night (they were about 5 weeks when they went out in the coop and I kept them locked in the coop for 3 days), then one night, they just started climbing the ladder and using the roosts. Now they all sleep up there except the one who has decided that the high rafters are the place to roost!

    I think they will figure it out on their own, when they are ready.
  9. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    My current batch of six, six week olds, are still sleeping in a pile on the floor. This is their second night in the coop. I have no doubt they'll decide one day soon that roosting on the perch is a better place to sleep, if only to get out of their poop.

    The more complicated issue is teaching them to go in and out of the coop come morning and night. The problem they're dealing with is six older sisters who, while bunking in their own partitioned off section, won't let the tykes have free passage. Each group has their own pop hole, and that ought to help, but the tykes need to muster up the bravery to get by the big hens and into the coop.

    While they're still this small, I'm gathering them up and carrying them inside, and refereeing their exit in the morning. A lot of it involves maturity, learning, courage, and we just have to know when to help and when to leave them alone to learn things on their own. It's a delicate balance. But it's fun, too. They'll signal what they need from you. I knew I had to carry them inside tonight when I saw them standing in the gathering gloom in the pediatric wing of the run (where the big hens can't bully them) and frantically screeching their heads off.
  10. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Songster

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I built a small roost when they were six wks old just to have it available for them. They would use it during daylight like a playground Jungle Gym but would huddle on the floor at night. Now they all squabble to be on the top roost, some on the middle none on the bottom. It's all instinctive. The temporary roost was only 24" high with evenly spaced rungs. I Have not tried to train or teach my birds anything. They know what's next.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010

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