Not using the roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by UnlabeledMama, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2012
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    My weirdo chickens keep sleeping in a pile in the straw right in front of the door of the coop. Why in the world are they boycotting the roost? They play on it during the day ....
     
  2. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    We have a pair that do that as well. They are show chickens, and were apparently cage-raised by the breeder. Unfortunately, they have other atypical behaviors as well...

    I guess they were never provided a roost when they were young, so they never learned to use one. And our attempts to teach them so far has not changed their minds [​IMG]

    The only "harm" in it is that they tend to get poop on their undersides at night. Ours are white, so it is not attractive on them, but does no real damage.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas

    How old are they? Have you moved them recently? Tell us something about what is going on so we can make some educated guesses.
     
  4. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Western North Carolina
    We raised them from chicks and gave them branches to hop on when they were little, but they have never slept on them. Maybe they will eventually figure it out. I just don't understand why they sleep up against the cold glass door instead of a more secure spot ....
     
  5. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2012
    Western North Carolina
    They are about 12 weeks and a full roost is a new addition, but they did have branches and pallets before ....
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    What you are describing if pretty normal for brooder raised chicks that age. A broody will teach her chicks to go to the roosts at a much younger age. I've had some that do that at two weeks, though most take a little longer. Never more than 4 weeks though.

    With my brooder raised chicks, I have had some take to the roosts by 5 weeks but 10 to 12 weeks is much more normal. Sometimes they are even later. And this is with the same general conditions. Usually when one figures it out, they are all roosting within a couple of days.

    I think what is happening is that until one figures it out, they like to sleep in a group in an area they think is secure. Remember you are dealing with bird-brains. They think differently than you do. Once I move them to the grow-out coop where there is no light, they tend to sleep in corners, not in the middle of the floor. And these spots tend to be low. I generally leave mine in the elevated grow-out coop for about a week before I let them in their run. It is pretty normal for some or all of them to go to sleep in a group on the ground under the door that first night. It's obviously where they feel most secure.

    When this happens, I just put them in the coop after dark and shut the door. Sometimes most or all go to sleep in the coop after that the next night, but I've had some hold out for more than two weeks before they caught on. That was with the majority going to sleep in the coop.

    If you wish, when you put them in, keep it very dark and set some or all on the roost. One will probably catch on fairly soon, then the others should follow. But I just toss them inside and let them decide when they will roost on their own.

    Good luck, but what you are seeing is pretty normal behavior. Don't worry. You are not doing anything wrong.
     
  7. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2012
    Western North Carolina
    Thank you! I was afraid I had put off putting the roost in there for too long, but we were focusing on finishing the outdoor run. I may go out there tonight after they have bedded down and try to move them to the roost. Silly creatures!
     
  8. BarbG

    BarbG Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 29, 2011
    Chicago
    My 18-month old girls just started using the roost in their coop. It had been in there from Day 1 but at night they always clustered in front of the door on the floor. I have no idea why they decided out of the blue to start using it but it has made cleaning the coop easier since they're not constantly marching through the night poop as they go in and out of the door. Strange birds indeed.
     
  9. Yardfarm Family

    Yardfarm Family Out Of The Brooder

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    Mchenry County, Il
    Mine also piled in a corner for about a week after they were in their new coop. I thought they'd never get it, I always checked on them and then finally one night they were all up roosting. All 10 would squeeze on the top roost and push each other off the back until all fit. They are so funny!
     
  10. jlhowland

    jlhowland Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 14, 2012
    My birds roost every night but on top of one another. Literally 7 birds cram into a space about 14 inches long. They are now 7-8 weeks old so not tiny either. The funny thing is I have a 7 ft long roost that is not being used. I had wondered if its because the roost is right in front of the coop window. Would the exposure freak them out? I'm stumped but so far everyone seems content.
     

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