Not all hens on roost at night..


In the Brooder
12 Years
Mar 27, 2007
Dripping Springs, TX
Although there is plenty of room-not all of my hens "roost" in their henhouse at night. I will sometimes see some down in the bedding for the night.

Some also will roost on the edge of their nest boxes, which really is irritating because they poop where they roost.

Does anyone else have this happening to them? I can't imagine this is an isolated case.
I pick mine up when I shut the door at night (IF they are in the nest) and put them on the roost. It only takes 2-3 days for them to "re-learn". Other than that, some reasons for them sleeping off the roost might be: not enough room on roost; too cold or breezy on roost; hurt leg or wing; roost too high; Mean birds on roost pick on them; just habit. I had one that was sick and was sleeping on the ground. I didn't realize until later that's why -- she didn't feel well. Hope this helps
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Ya'll are quick! I feel better knowing this is not uncommon. I am going to try the suggestion of putting them on the roost.

I will say, my nesting boxes are a little higher than the roost too so I am sure that is why they are doing this. Uncooperative chickens!
Whatever is highest, roost or nestbox, is what most hens will try to roost upon.
If you're able to put a roof over the nest that is slanted enough so the chickens can't roost there, it may solve your problem.

By the way, I only pick up my hens after dark -- and I carry a flashlight. I'd never be able to pick them up if they could see what was going on! Just make sure to pick them up with your hands [gently] around their wings/body -- so they don't flap their wings.
I just built my coop and today went and bought 4 chickens
to put inside, but come nighttime I was having the same trouble with them roosting...

my roost box (discussed here is a 2x5 ft box, with walls on 3 sides and empty on one of the 5' walls. There is a single perch running down the 5' length that is 3.5" wide and maybe 2" off've the ground.

I put in a pretty dodgy ladder (as it happens they seem to be able to jump the 4' to the roost box) and watched them tonight but the behaviour was... odd. One of them went to the roosting box and sat IN the freshly laid wood shavings, another tried to roost on the top of the ladder (blocking the others), and the other 2 settled into the communal nesting box directly underneath the roost area.

Anyway I wasn't having any of that so I picked up the 2 nesters (they didn't like that) and put them in the roost box. Now they are all crammed together into one side of the roost box (as in all 4 of them are in a 1x2 ft area), 2 of them are on the actual perch and the other 2 still insist on sitting in the wood shavings. I figured I put them through enough stress today so I've left them alone.

Is it abnormal for them to prefer sitting down in the shavings over the perches?
Is the perch too low from the floor of the roost box?
Are they huddling together because they are cold (At the moment it's 70f)?
Or is the roost not secure enough for them (I will try and get some pics up tomorrow)?
hi folks, this is the 2nd night in a row that my chickens are 'roosting' crammed into a little corner like this (that is 4 chickens):

I don't know anything about chickens so I'm getting worried that they are cold/scared/generally not happy with roost conditions.

As I stated the outdoor temperature is around 22C (70F).

Does anybody know if this is a problem, and if so, any suggestions about what I should be about it?

I suppose the up side is that at least they all went to the roost themselves instead of me having to take them this time!
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adante, it is very common for chickens to huddle up together. You may see them up on the roost squished in together in a too small space when there are plenty more feet of roost available. You don't have to worry about them. It is very natural behavior.

I, too, have chickens that will not go to roost on the roost. I have a few that perfer to bed down on the tops of the big metal cans I use for feed storage. I have 1 that prefers to dig out a hole in the floor bedding and hunkers down for the night in a tight corner. I have others that huddle up very tight on the roost in a corner.

I used to get my husband to go out with me every night and we would take each one and put them up on the roost. At the time I had close to 60 chickens. By the time we got the last ones up on the roost the first ones had returned to their own choice of roost.

After a while I just gave up. LOL
Your roost looks nice. I am no expert AT ALL on this, but I've seen roosts that are usually at least a couple of inches to a foot or so ABOVE the shavings. Don't know if or why chickens would want their roost higher in the air, but perhaps if you raised it up off the shavings area? That way you could clean it easier too, as the poop would fall away from the roost.

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