newbie needs help they wont roost


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 18, 2011
I built this nice coop and run following the advice i recieved in this forum but my pullets wont go up the stairs to the roost pole. If fact they seem to prefer sleeping in the run huddled up. They like to go in the bottom of the coop. They were born 03/21/11. What should I do? Thanks, I am very new but already hooked.

Not really sure what you mean by the bottom of the coop.

There could be something about the coop they don't like, maybe not enough ventilation, maybe a predator -- snakes or rats, for example -- they are also quite young and may simply not have figured out they're supposed to roost or sleep in the coop. Sometimes the ramp is steeper than they like. Some people find they have to put the chickens on the roost, maybe for several nights, for them to learn. Yours are young enough that they may still just prefer the chick style of sleeping, in a huddle.

You say roost pole -- what size and shape is it? Chickens' feet are a little different from other birds and don't really wrap around a roost the same; they usually seem to prefer either a wide roost like the wide side of a 2x4, or a similarly fat branch for a roost.
First GA in the house. It's a 2 by 4. I'll check the ventilation but I think it's fine. I think they are young and don't know how to go up the ramp. I say this because if I leave the door to the run open, they wont go out. I have to make them. And then they run back in after a short time.
It's been awhile since we kept a flock, but we are back into it now. My girls are a little younger than yours and are terrified of the roost:) I put it in this morning and they acted as if it were a hawk! As I recall they'll get the hang of it as they get older and more confident. I wouldn't worry, just let them figure it out on their own. I have a friend with twice the number of hens I have and hers never roosted. They wouldn't lay in the nesting boxes either, it took almost a year. I think we over do it sometimes, too much inbreeding, not enough natural selection. We "improve" so many traits in an effort to gain a perfect look that I think we lose other vital characteristics. If it still unsettling for you try adding an older, well tempered hen, she'll get them headed in the right direction. Good luck:)
You're right. maybe I'm getting too into it. But it's a passion. I'll wait and see what they do. Hey, what do you cover the bottom of your coop with. I'm using hay. Is there something better?
What breed of chicken do you have? We always put little portable roosts in the brooder boxes within the first week after hatching. Now, our buff orps always start roosting within a couple days of putting it in. However, our wyandottes staunchly refused to get on that thing! They just barely started using it right before they got moved into the coop at 5 weeks. Now, at 14 weeks, they all sleep on the roost next to the others. No problem with ramps though.
My birds are a little older (11 weeks), but they're just starting to get the idea of this roost thing. For the past 3 nights I've had to put them on it at night. The first night I managed to get 4 out of 6 to stay on the roost (the other two fell off and didn't want to try again). The second night I got 5 out of 6 to stay on the roost (the one stupid chicken fell off again and wanted to sleep in a corner by herself. Apparently the stupid chicken got jealous of her sisters and on night three she was super excited to be placed on the roost and stayed there all night. Also, a few of the chickens tried flying up to the roost on their own (it's about a foot and a half off the ground with no ramp or ladder). One of them made the landing and slept peacefully all night.

Hopefully the others figure it out as well. The next battle is convincing them that they can make it over the step to get back into their coop at night. They all huddle together in a pile right next to the opening. Good grief...
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Thanks for all the good advice. Guess what, we had a big strom last night and when I went to let my girls out of the coop this morning, they were all on the roost. My coop is bilevel so they had to go up a ramp then jump up to the roost. I'm so proud. Yhea.
Nice. When I went out last night to help mine out, 4 out of 6 were in the coop and on the roost. The other two were still huddled against the door, but there's definite improvement.

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