How long to leave a hen on the roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ballerina Bird, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last night, I was surprised to see that my 11-week-old pullets had gotten onto their roost -- I wasn't really expecting them to start roosting yet based on what others on BYC have said. I didn't see them get up there so am not sure exactly how they did it. But now they won't come down. How long should I leave them up there to figure it out? An hour? Longer? Or will time not help and should I just help them down now and figure that they won't be able to do this until they're a little older? Or -- could they just be chilly or sleepy and not ready to come down? The roost is only a couple of feet off the coop floor (the coop itself is raised). On another thread, someone mentioned leaving a hen up there until the afternoon, but I would worry about food and water access.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Are they staying there to get away from older flock members? They are plenty old enough to jump down 2' without fear of the height. Or is there some other reason they are staying up there?
     
  3. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are no other flock members -- it's just the two of them. They seem a little awkward on the perches (they struggle a big when they try to turn around) so I'm assuming it's just physical fear of getting down. I don't know why else they would stay up there.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Getting(flying) up is one thing, but if there's not room to fly down without hitting a wall, that can be a problem.

    Maybe a ramp would help if there's room to put one in.

    Or just something about half the height of the roost to jump down onto. I used a concrete block, set up the tall way, for my chicks to use when first navigating the roost when they were new to their coop.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
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  5. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! That's helpful; I'll give the concrete block a try. I just don't have the DIY skills to install a ramp in there. It's a fairly roomy, high-ceilinged coop (designed for four birds, and I have only two in there), and there's nothing else in there to interfere with their flying down, but maybe it's just too hard for them to negotiate. They generally seem to have trouble with any jumping down. They've now figured out how to step onto their ramp from the coop to get down into the run (I raised the ramp a bit per suggestions on the other thread), but it takes a lot of working up their courage (and me standing there talking to them soothingly) to take even what is really a very small step down onto the first cleat. Maybe it's just that they are still pretty young.
     

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