Not sleeping on roost

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by beate, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. beate

    beate New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    Heber City Utah
    I have a wonderful big coop. My older 4 hens sleep on ithe roost every night, my 4 newer ones, now about 4 months old sleep on top of the steep roof of the nesting boxes. Every night I move them onto the roost for the last 2 weeks, since I combined the chickens. How can I get them to go on the roost by themselves?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    There are many reasons why chickens refuse to use the roosting perches. You need to observe them at roosting time to see what it is that is making them avoid the perch.

    Young pullets often avoid the perch because they don't have the self confidence to compete with the older hens for a spot. Sometimes the competition can be quite brutal and mean. I've gone so far as to put up partitions on the perch so the timid ones can be walled off from the ones who can't seem to roost without trying to knock others off the perch.

    Sometimes you'll get heavy breeds like Cochins and Brahmas that find it all but impossible to roost on perches any higher than one or two feet high. Providing low perches can make it more comfortable for them to roost.
     
  3. happylittlehens

    happylittlehens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2013
    Utah
    I was just coming here to ask the same question. I have a 6 month old buff Orpington that I keep finding on the floor of the coop in a corner when i do the last check before bed. I put her up on the roost and she seems to stay there. I guess I will have to watch them at roosting time to see what's going on.
     
  4. beate

    beate New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    Heber City Utah
     
  5. beate

    beate New Egg

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    Feb 22, 2013
    Heber City Utah
    Thanks for the suggestions. We did lower the roost (bar) but still the same. I know the little ones have a lot of respect for the older ones, just watching them leave food or water if an older one comes around during the day. I might have to try the partition.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    It really is a valuable exercise to observe your flock at roosting time. I have fourteen hens in one coop and five pullets and a cockerel in a second coop. The fourteen hens are older, between six years and three years old. However, almost every night they have high drama at roosting, squabbling and shrieking like nobody's business. I have two curtains that I can drop that will divide the long perch into thirds. It's a life saver. It halts the fighting instantly. There are two other perches that are just six inches high, and they are very popular. Chickens, it turns out, love to have a choice.

    In the other coop, I was finding the little cockerel, a Buff Brahma, on the floor. He often spent the night there if I didn't check on him at roosting time. When he was trying to roost with the girls, they would crowd at the end of the perch where he needed to hop to from a nest box because he's already too heavy to hop up onto the perch like the pullets can.

    So I moved him next door into the rooster section where he has the entire perch to himself. But he still needs to use a nest box to leap to the perch. This is after I had already lowered the perches to just eighteen inches from the floor.

    The rooster died a month ago of complications from a fall when he was trying to jump off his roosting perch.

    It's always something, I swear. Roosting time isn't for sissies.
     

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