How to get hens to use the roost

gonesouth78

Chirping
6 Years
Nov 1, 2014
2
2
64
We have 4 hens. One is an Orpington about 6 months old and the other three are Easter Egger Bantams about 3 months. They have a large area of yard where they free-range and a decent size coop with nesting boxes and a roost where they go at night. They keep sleeping in the boxes and not on the roost! We blocked the boxes but they just huddled on the floor. The Orpington
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should be laying but hasn't yet. We even have the "fake eggs". What can we do to get them to use the roost and encourage egg laying?
 

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rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,902
35,874
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Those roosts are really short and low, not appealing to chickens. Roosts should be at least 12" horizontal apart (can't tell how close those 3 bars are), and ideally a minimum of about 12" long per bird (a little less for bantams, but birds will never complain about having more space).

I also don't see any windows in the coop from this angle - are they getting enough natural light to see inside, as well as ventilation? They can't roost if they can't see the roosts.

As far as laying, you can't make them lay. Breed standards can give you a rough estimate but each bird is an individual and will lay when ready.
 

Eddie the Yeti

Songster
Jul 6, 2020
119
559
136
Colorado Springs, CO
it looks like you may have made the coops from an old shed (good idea) that probably means that there are roof joists (2x4s that hold up the roof) if you attach more 2x4s across them, like ceiling rafters (but no ceiling) the birds will roost on them. I would do no more than every 2 feet to allow plenty of room for them to get up there. cheap easy and effective. my roosts are 6 feet high. even when I had lower roosts none of the birds used them but they love the high ones. it does get a little dicey if you have to go in at night when they are up there, visions of falling poop, but I usually leave them alone after they roost for the night!
 

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