How to perch

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CaradineCousins, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. CaradineCousins

    CaradineCousins Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2015
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    Hi how do u teach chicks to perch? I have put in a tree branch and have tried placing chick on but they just jump down.

    Update: last night one was perching I stood there about 15 minutes watching, she would close her eyes and bob her head, I just knew it would fall off but she didn't so so cute
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  2. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just recently raised my first batch of chicks which are nine weeks old now and in the coop, and I wondered the same thing the whole time while raising them. In the beginning when they were in the brooder I did like you and put tree branches in there, and sometimes a few would perch for short periods but most wouldn't. Then I moved them to their coop at six weeks. The coop has two 8' long roosts and a 2X4 with steps leading up. I also left the heat lamp with a 125 watt bulb in the coop that I'd turn on at night because it would get a bit chilly. before bed I'd go out and check on them and noticed six birds would always roost but the remaining 19 would be scattered on the floor/bedding near the lamp. Then last night I switched the lamp out with a battery powered lantern from Wally Mart in order to ween them off the heat lamp, and I noticed they all roosted on the roosts and up off the floor - and I didn't even give them any instructions to do that. They looked like a bunch of soldiers standing in formation. The only thing different was the lantern was hung about 5' off the floor whereas the heat lamp was down around 2'-3' off the floor. I'm guessing that most of them stayed on the floor where the heat lamp radiated since it was a little more comfortable at night, but once the heat source was removed they had no incentive to stay down there and did what all chickens desire which is to roost up high. So the moral of the story is that I don't think you have to teach birds to roost but that most will do it in the end on their own as long as we don't spoil them like I did.
     
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I forgot to add.......so now I'm wondering if/when I remove the lantern if they'll go into the coop on their own and be able to see the roost and steps well enough. I'm sure I'm way over-thinking this but I should get a pass since this is my first flock. My guess is I can remove it and they'll find their way up there just fine.
     
  4. CaradineCousins

    CaradineCousins Out Of The Brooder

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    Birmingham Alabama
    Thanks that makes so much sense
     
  5. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I understand it, you may want to do a head count at night to make sure they've all figured it out. Carry any stragglers into the coop if it's already dark. It should become a habit with them in a very short period of time that when the sun starts going down, time to head to the coop!
     
  6. MESOFRUFFEH

    MESOFRUFFEH Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If this helps any, I keep a lamp with a red bulb in it on at all time in my coop. We also have christmas lights hanging up. I have a regular light on a timer hanging in my coop, they know exactly when that thing goes off too, and they WILL be roosting by the time it's off, but if for any reason someone isnt, or if someone falls off the roost, they can still see well enough from the red light to get back up. I use red so it doesn't mess up their sleep. I used to have problems with them roosting outside at night, but since I started using the lights in the coop, I have had 0 issues!
     
  7. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roger that. I've been doing head counts every night since I moved them to the coop/run even though everything is secure and enclosed - they're my most valuable backyard asset and we have a ton of predators. I'm sure you're right on the money because they learn a lot faster than I ever thought they would.
     
  8. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was along the same lines of what I was thinking with the hanging lantern. I think the light with the timer is an excellent idea but I still need to run a circuit out to the coop to make it happen yet. I want to run power out there anyway so I can install a light in the run - gets mighty dark fast out there at night for me. Thanks for the ideas.
     
  9. CaradineCousins

    CaradineCousins Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for all the great replies and tips
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Here's what I've learned about baby chicks learning to use a perch.

    It's an instinct, like many others, to want to stand on a likely perch, if only briefly. It's also an instinct to want to try to reach the highest places they can. But all this is strictly play, and will be a fleeting thing. Baby chicks can be taught to roost on a perch using the natural instincts they have.

    When I teach my chicks to roost at around five weeks old, I take advantage of several natural instincts. Besides the ones mentioned above, another instinct is to want to snuggle closely to one another when getting ready to go to sleep.

    What I do is I place the five-week olds on the perch as it becomes dark, and I scoot them all as close together as possible so they're all touching. One of the reasons chicks resist roosting on a perch is because they lose that closeness they had when they piled together to sleep. If they're touching when on the perch, they are comforted and reassured by each others body heat and closeness and they're more likely to remain.

    Another trick is to put the one who keeps hopping down against the wall with another chick on the other side. The one who ends up on the outside of the row of chicks will be the one with the most self confidence.
    Using this method, it takes, at most, three nights for chicks to learn to roost and to do it on their own from then on.
     

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