night time stress?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tunaoftheland, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. tunaoftheland

    tunaoftheland Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    Hello everyone. I've got seven Ameraucanas, 10 1/2 weeks old. They've been seeming really stressed when they go to bed at night. They squawk and pile on top of each other and I'm worried someone's going to get smothered, especially with the heat. They settle down and spread out a bit eventually but every night they go through this. I thought once they adjusted to being out there maybe they would calm down but it's been several weeks and they haven't. If I go in to try and comfort them they all fly on my head and shoulders and get even more upset. I read in a different post that chickens like to stick close together and not out in the middle of the roost, so maybe I'm just worrying to much, but I'm worried! I've never had chickens before so maybe I'm doing something wrong or missing something. Any advice would be great [​IMG]
  2. Riparian

    Riparian Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    Ontario Canada
    Hmmm... thats strange. What are they roosting on?
  3. tunaoftheland

    tunaoftheland Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    it's the roost that came with the coop, a 2x4 placed so the two is the side they would stand on, if they stood on it. There is a coated wire screen that goes from the roost to the wall, I assume so they don't stand in their poo, and that is what they all crowd into the corner on.
  4. chickster88

    chickster88 In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    I'm a newbie too and I only have 3 four-month-old hens, but I've noticed they like to pile all squished together on their roost even though there is plenty of room, and, in fact, extra roosts in case they each want their own. They're ALWAYS squished together, so I've always just assumed it is because they like the companionship. Our cats do it with each other that way too, so it just seems normal to me since they are such social creatures!
  5. tunaoftheland

    tunaoftheland Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    Okay, that makes me feel a bit better. I was thinking maybe I'd give them a second roost too, without the coated wire, to see if maybe that is what they're unhappy about. Just in case. They do end up settled down, they just seem so upset before they do. I worry too much about my girls, for all I know they could simply still be adjusting. I'm glad to hear the piling thing is not something abnormal though. I had assumed they would just sit along the roost but I guess these things are the difference between reading about chickens and having chickens.
  6. fivebigreds

    fivebigreds Songster

    Sep 9, 2007
    middle Tennessee
    mine all seem to want to sleep in a wad especially the young ones. They like to squabble over the best spot to pile up [​IMG]
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Try going out there after dark and PUTTING them on the roost. After a few days they should clue in and start doing it themselves.

    Good luck,

  8. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Sounds to me like they are still going through the pecking order routine. Roost position is all important to the social life of a chicken. [​IMG] If a couple of the lower order birds get on the roost first, the other birds, higher up in the pecking order need to get to their positions. There is usually a lot of worried sounding clucking and a lot of fussing around, until they all get to their proper place. I think they all squeeze together so that there is no way another bird can slip between them, and change the social status.

    The bird on the far left ("when you are facing the roost") is always the bird at the top of the pecking order, while the bird to the far right is the lowest. The order will change from time to time, as the birds mature, usually at the lower end. If you have a two tiered roost, the birds on the lower one are the lower in the pecking order. I was told this by a fellow who raised chickens for 35 years, and after observing, I believe him. Others on this forum have noticed the same thing.

    It's actually quite funny to watch, as they go to roost, especially if something throws off the timing of the birds getting on it. One time I made the mistake of going into the house, just as they were settling down. A couple of the birds decided to jump down to see if I had treats for them. When I stepped out, they had to get back to their preffered spot, so a huge fuss was made, with birds trying to climb over one another, and squeeze back into their spot. A couple of the birds were not co-operating, and some pecking ensued. I finally had to go in and lifted them all back in the correct roost order. Once I did that they all settled down immediately and went to sleep.

    Funny little dinasours...[​IMG]
  9. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    We had a problem because the higher roost didn't have enough space for everybody to fit. So, we set all the roosts at the same level and the trouble ended immediatly. It's just about as high as they can fly up to and now everybody is happy. Who knew?
  10. tunaoftheland

    tunaoftheland Songster

    Jun 3, 2008
    Thanks so much, this all really helps. That is so crazy about the left to right thing, I never would have imagined that. I guess that means Polly's top bird. Which actually makes sense, she has a rather elitist attitude, and doesn't care if she's on her own whereas most of the others freak out. Since there's just one roost and it's all one long level I guess I'll try the putting-them-on-the-roost-thing for now. Then they can figure out their order more comfortably perhaps and see where it goes from there. I feel much better though about it.

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