Is roost training necessary? A: Probably not

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gtaus, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    861
    2,080
    257
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Oh, I understand. Thanks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    23,525
    10,374
    687
    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Aart, as you know I have my juvenile roost. For others' benefit it is lower than the main roosts, higher than the nests, and horizontally separated from the main roosts. This gives the juveniles a safe place to go that is not my nests when the adults scare them from using the main roosts. That's defense #1.

    #2 is that if they are not sleeping in the nests I leave them alone. I don't care where they sleep as long as it is not in my nests. If they want to sleep on the floor, that's fine. I don't have an irresistible urge to to force them to use roosts. If it ain't broke don't fix it and if they are not sleeping in the nests it ain't broke. I think if I tried to force them to sleep on the main roosts with the adults I would be creating a problem.

    About once every three years or so I will have one sleeping in a nest when I go down there to lock up at night. I take it out and toss it on the coop floor. I'm careful to not hurt it but I'm not real gentle either. I want it to be stressed. I want it to realize that sleeping in the nest is not a good idea. When it tries the first night something grabs it and sends it falling to the coop floor. It's scary trying to sleep in there. Once is usually all it takes, especially if it is the first night it tries it. I could do this differently but this is the easiest for me and it has worked so far.

    Juvenile Roost.JPG
    Since we like photos this is my juvenile roost. It's clearly higher than the nests. Off to the right you an see the framing for my built-in brooder. The main roosts are above that so they are clearly higher.

    Aart, my coop looks different from yours, I've seen your photos. If you are having young chicks sleep in your nests it probably has to do with that. We are all unique and have our own issues. Below is my brooder with the main roosts above. When I kick the brooder-raised chicks out of the brooder at 5 weeks they practically always sleep in or on the edges of the bins to the right of this photo.

    Brooder Bins.JPG
     
    gtaus likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    65,324
    58,078
    1,427
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yeah, I have much the same, several other roosts...I just don't want them in the nests.
    Have only had one group of chicks that took more than 2-3 nights to break the nest sleeping habit, they took like 2 months, that's when I rigged the hinged cover.

    ETA don't
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
    gtaus likes this.
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

    5,092
    8,660
    542
    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Honestly I think it depends a lot on personal preference... I want mine roosting sooner rather than later because I don't want them sitting in their own poop or getting pooped on by others on a roost, so I encourage it early. My first birds were roosting at around 7 weeks maybe? The second group were roosting just short of 6 weeks. I'd like to see if I can get the next group of chicks (which won't be for another 2 years maybe) integrated and up on the roost even earlier.

    So far (knock on wood), I haven't had any chicks or chickens try sleeping in the nest box so I haven't had a need to cover it.
     
    gtaus likes this.
  5. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    861
    2,080
    257
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    OK, I seem to understand the reason for tossing the sleeping hen out of the nest box onto the coop floor and giving it a little stress to think about. Just wondering if taking the sleeping hen out of the nest box and placing her on a roost would have the same affect, or not. I'm just thinking that if I have to intervene with a hen sleeping in a nest box, I might just as well show her what I expect her to do - roost on a bar - rather than continue the habit of sleeping on the floor. Would that approach work? Again, my first year with laying hens and still learning a lot.
     
    Ridgerunner likes this.
  6. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    861
    2,080
    257
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Typo? Why would you want them in the nests? Not following you on that.
     
    aart likes this.
  7. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    861
    2,080
    257
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    I ordered my chick delivery for end of March, which for us, means you can expect to provide a heated brooder for the next 8 weeks. I guess I can blame myself for keeping the chicks in the brooder, without roosts, for 8 weeks while I was building their coop. Last time I raised meat chickens, and they were all harvested around week 9, so this whole roost business for laying hens was never a concern. Still learning a lot, but sounds like you have a good grasp on how to get it done.
     
    AmyJane725 likes this.
  8. AmyJane725

    AmyJane725 Crowing

    1,747
    2,822
    261
    Feb 22, 2019
    Western WA
    I just have my nest boxes covered up with a big long piece of cardboard so nobody can get in there for sleeping purposes.

    I have some silkies who are still sleeping on the floor in the bedding, but I go them a little step stool and some of them are already using it to get up onto the roost. I'm hoping the rest will follow suit soon.
     
    gtaus likes this.
  9. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    861
    2,080
    257
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    Yeah, I was going to do the same but with a board. But I had not considered that I would have to be up at the crack of dawn to take it down before the early egg layers started laying their eggs. Yikes! I'm not an early riser.
     
    Chef JimmyJ likes this.
  10. AmyJane725

    AmyJane725 Crowing

    1,747
    2,822
    261
    Feb 22, 2019
    Western WA
    I haven't read this entire topic yet, but I'm not following why you'd need to do that?

    Your nests are lower than your roosts, so your birds should always opt to sleep on the roosts. Just keep the nests covered until they start laying. They should seek them out when it's time to lay. I think @aart was saying that she keeps hers covered and has to uncover them because she has new chicks every year who would sleep in them if not covered. If yours are all the same age you shouldn't have a problem.
     
    gtaus likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: