I think my chickens are confused...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_a_dee, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    I changed up their coop a bit, and usually they're alright with it. However, now I have chickens sleeping in the end two nest boxes, 3 in one, 2 in the other pooping all over the fooling eggs and the nesting material in there, though SHOCK they aren't eating the nests anymore. I solved one problem and created another! I walked in tonight to find 1 single chicken on the roost sitting dead centre on the middle roost, chickens in the windows as per usual, but the end two nestboxes stuffed to the tops with chickens. 3 in the end one, and 2 in the second to end, plus another bunch of chickens on top of the boxes which I can understand since I haven't put the pitched roof up on it yet, fair enough.

    How can I get the chickens to understand that their roosts are over where the smart chicken is? I go in and move them around 10pm when they're snoozing, but deep down I know they'll just hop off the roost and move back over to the nest boxes again.

    Please help me help my incredibly dim chickens!
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Just keep moving them to their roost. Some are more subborn but they'll get it. Make sure the roosts are wide enough for their feet to be mostly flat and higher than the nest boxes. They like high places and often prefer having flat feet to sleep, as they do not grasp like other birds do to sleep.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    If your coop is good and dark when you go out to move them they should stay put all night.
    When I was having to move chickens from nest boxes to roosts at night I went in with a penlight, enough for me to see what I was doing but not enough for them to move again.
    Like silkie said, with some of the less intelligent ones it takes awhile to re-program them.
     
  4. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:They are on a pitch the roosts,

    [​IMG]

    And are a bit lower than the nest boxes. The highest roost is actually HIGHER than the old roost was, the middle is at the same level as the old roost was, and the lowest is lower because I was having a couple of the girls being sent to sleep on the floor by the others. I don't mind them roosting in the windows, that doesn't bother me, it's the nestboxes that bothers me. They have 2x4 roosts, and infact half the roost is their old one.

    I was considering closing off the nest boxes at night and opening them back up when I get up in the morning. I would end up with maybe one egg laid on the floor as they prefer to lay their eggs when the pop door is open so they are left alone by their flockmates.
     
  5. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:That's a good idea actually... I was going out with a led lantern but I figured it was too bright to use. It has a very dim setting, and I can hang it from the ceiling while I move them. The coop is pitch black inside at night with no exterior light on it, and no pole lights on the property.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Maybe if you can move the roost up higher than the nest boxes, that would help. They like to go up, so maybe a few cinder blocks at the bottom of the roost to up it a foot or two would help?
     
  7. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:I'll try, but I might have to just add a bit of framing to the bottom because the building is actually a 90 year old ice shed with an extremely uneven floor LOL.
     
  8. FractalFarmer

    FractalFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 31, 2008
    SF Bay area CA
    Is their coop pretty cold? That might keep them huddled up for warmth, maybe. But I'm having the same problem, and I'm in CA where it barely gets below freezing, so what do I know?

    Quote:We're using 2x2's with beveled edges for their roost. They used to sleep on the roost, but now they've taken to sleeping in their nesting boxes. Many of them even perch on the outside edge of the nest box, even though that's just a skinny piece of plywood! I thought it was the cold, but maybe they don't like their roosting pole? Should a 2x2 be OK, or would a wider roost be better?
     
  9. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:We're using 2x2's with beveled edges for their roost. They used to sleep on the roost, but now they've taken to sleeping in their nesting boxes. Many of them even perch on the outside edge of the nest box, even though that's just a skinny piece of plywood! I thought it was the cold, but maybe they don't like their roosting pole? Should a 2x2 be OK, or would a wider roost be better?

    It gets mighty cold here, -25 and sometimes lower than that. But they have never slept in their nestboxes aside from the last two days when I moved things around. I'm assuming they just haven't figured out yet that the roosts moved LOL. It's actually about + 5 in there right now [​IMG] I'm just going to keep moving them about.
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    2x2 would be ok, but they may like a flater roost better. The most important feature of a flatter roost is that toes don't literally get frozen in cold climates. Second would be their comfort as they rest on their keels at night. I have a few who roost on a thinner roost, but most like the larger flatter ones.

    It's up to you if you want to make them bigger. They may or may not take back to their orignial roost if there was some other reason why they moved.
     

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