Is there a way to make your new hens roost at night?


In the Brooder
Aug 28, 2015
I got a new flock of 26 birds (Rhode Island Reds) straight from a breeding mill - 19 weeks old. 1 Rooster and 25 hens. Only 6 of them roost at night. The other 20 of them huddle in a corner, on the ground, near the door of the coop. About a week ago I installed a low roosting bar, about 5 inches off the ground, in the hopes they they would get used to resting on the bar. However still only 6 roost at night. There is plenty of roosting space on the higher bars, and the last flock of 15 I had would all roost at night.

Is there a way to make them roost at night? I prefer them to be on the roosting bars because I have a poop catcher below them. They make a mess if they just pick a random corner to spend the night.

PS - They are 23 weeks old now, and I got 23 eggs today. The most yet!
Maybe try a different type of perch. Some of ours would prefer to roost on a shelf, rather than a bar. Lots of youngsters prefer to sleep on the ground, but yours are old enough that they should be wanting to get up off the ground, that's weird. Anyway, try a shelf, or a broader perch, for them to roost on. Good luck!

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How long have you had them?
Are the roosts easy to get up on and down from?

You could go in after dark and place them on the roosts.
Good ideas - thanks. I got the birds at 19 weeks, and they are about 23 weeks now. So I have had them about a month.

The roosts are pretty easy to get to - but they will have to jump/fly 2.5 3 feet in the air to get to them.
Pics of your coop and roosts might help us spot a problem.
Another thing to think about is that if your coop doesn't have lots of windows for light, especially to the west, it can be hard for them to see at roost time this time of year.
Here is a picture of my coop facing West. As you can see, all I have on that wall is plastic right now. In the summer it is completely open, except the wire fence. The two poles on the left are where the birds are 'supposed' to roost.

Lots of light!
Lots of room to fly down.
Roosts are kind of small, might be 'uncomfortable'...or they might just need 'training' by putting them up there after dark.
You could try giving them a ladder of sorts for those that aren't comfortable flying up or down. My roosts are spaced 18 inches between each roost, and the lowest is 18 inches. So they get on the lowest one and hop to the top one.
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I was wondering why the previous owner had that ladder there. You can see it behind the door in the picture. I took the door away, so now maybe they will go up there.

I tried putting two hens on the roosts after dark the last two nights. I cannot get more than two up there, because my son and I put two up, and if we grab two more birds, the commotion of putting the new birds up there makes the previous two fly down. By the next night there are still only the 6 birds up there.

Anybody have any other ideas I can try? Is it bad for them to stay on the ground if they want to (other than the mess)?
They need some a bit wider for their feet...they like to rest/sleep with feet flat rather than curled around a 'perch'.
Try turning those roosts so the wider side is 'up', make sure they are well attached and stable.
It may take a week of putting them up there before they 'get it'.

That 'ladder' may have been the roost they used before......think those are a bit thin too.

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