Night#3 in Tractor - sleeping on ground, not roosting area

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chancegardner, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. chancegardner

    chancegardner New Egg

    Apr 12, 2011
    Any tips on how to get our chickens to sleep in roosting area:

    Our 7 chicks have lived in pine bedding in their brooder box for 4+ weeks. Three days ago when we moved them to the A-Frame tractor ( ), we thought they'd feel secure in sleeping in the pine chip area in the upper level.

    The first day we put them in the tractor about 4:30 pm. (We have a baby monitor inside the coop - predators got our last flock of chickens! and we won't let it happen again!)

    They enjoyed their outside time, but at dusk, they all started peeping forlornly.
    So we managed to catch them one by one and move them to the upper level. The ramp was up and they settled down very quickly once inside.
    We opened the ramp early in the morning.

    On their 2nd night, since all was quiet, we assumed they'd gone up to the roosting area and we'd just close the ramp for security.
    But, NO, they were all sleeping on the ground in a huddle at one end of the coop. Since they were sleepy, it was easy to transfer them again and close the ramp door.

    It rained hard today and we were hoping they'd head upstairs during the rainstorm, but they huddled under the ramp instead. They managed to stay dry for the most part, but upstairs would have been best.
    Tonight (night #3), they were again asleep on the ground in a huddle. Another transfer! [​IMG]

    Temps have been 75-80 in daytime, 60-65 at night. The chicks are all healthy and active.

    IS there something else we should do to train these chicks to head upstairs on their own to sleep???
    We didn't have this problem with our first batch of chicks.

    I hope someone has some advice for us?

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2011
  2. Matthew3590

    Matthew3590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    Middle, TN
    I would bate them with treats. But chickens like daily routines. So every day at the same time put them all up in their roost. Eventually they will get it, but it can take a while. Also if the ramp has little ridges on it, it might be too scared/hard for them to get over them and you might have to show each individual one that its easy to go over.
  3. pixiechick44

    pixiechick44 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2011
    Hey there,I had the same problem with mine.It took them about 2 weeks to get the hang of it.Then they started going up on there own for about a week ,well when I thought all was good they started sleeping in the corner of the run on the ground again,so ive has to start all over again putting them in the coop...I tried eveything.tuning a light on in the coop,putting them in before it gets dark,putting them in when its dark,ive tried treats the lot....and my conclusion is they will do it when they are ready....Its frustrating but hang on in there,all will be cool.....Debbie....Michagan [​IMG]
  4. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    IS there something else we should do to train these chicks...

    Nope. You, nor anyone else can 'train' chickens to do anything. Mine slept on a scrap of 2 x 4 on the ground every night until they were about 11 weeks old at which point they started using the roost in their coop. That is a natural thing to them and they will start doing it when their little brains tell them it is time to do it. Using treats is a way to get them to come to you (actually they are coming to food, not you) and you can get them into the coop using that method. But the roosting is a natural act, like laying eggs. They WILL do it, just on their own schedule.​
  5. chancegardner

    chancegardner New Egg

    Apr 12, 2011
    Thanks for your replies - We found out they love over-cooked green beans. That could tempt them up there!

    We did try one thing this morning that may be the ticket?
    One side of the coop is built so that the siding (over the roost area) is removable for cleaning, etc. We built ours so that there are 2 side-by-side removable sections.
    This morning we replaced one of those sections with plexi-glass. [​IMG] The chickens have been traveling up and down ever since. They are spending much more time in that roost in the day time, so maybe they'll sleep up there tonight on there own?
    I'll let you know

    The Wanna-be Chicken Trainers [​IMG]
  6. spaceranger

    spaceranger Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    Lol My year old hens do not roost at all! they sleep in the nest box all snuggled together on the floor (covered in poultry bedding) maybe mine are just weird though!
  7. BrokenRoadFarm

    BrokenRoadFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2011
    North Central NC
    Mine slept huddled together in a pile in the corner until they were 19 weeks old - they are now 23 weeks and are finally sleeping on the roosts at night. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  8. chancegardner

    chancegardner New Egg

    Apr 12, 2011
    Night #4 - Success! - They roosted upstairs about 8PM. Some of them were on the roosting bar and some were huddled in one of the nest boxes. But they were all tucked-in, all by themselves.
    Hope this IS their new routine!
    We swapped the regular roofing for plexiglass after we pulled the ramp up. In a few days we'll skip the plexiglass cover entirely and just keep the regular roof in place all the time to see if they still roost up there at night!
  9. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    I don't know if training is the right word, conditioning may be more like it. I try to understand where my chickens are coming from and try to get it right for them, and make it easy for me. One clutch I kept in a pet case, carried outto the playpen during the day, lured back in with food at night, then hung the case from the rafters in the coop at night (no doors on yet) They started 'loading up' into the case on their own at night, then during the day flying out of the playpen and foraging on their own, I left the playpen open when all 11 were out and stopped herding them back in (I would need a pony at this point) they were 3weeks old, that night I was late to load them up, they had all gone into the coop and piled together on a bale a straw all by their little selves. How cute, I'd post the pics but don't know how yet
  10. chancegardner

    chancegardner New Egg

    Apr 12, 2011
    Yesterday was the 8th day in the tractor for our young chickens.
    3 Nights passed before they began sleeping in the roost area rather than on the ground.
    But now they've had 5 nights in a row where they headed upstairs to the roost when it got dark Way to go, little flock! [​IMG]
    Now, we can pull up the ramp every night and not have to worry quite so much about predators:)

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