Odd Roosting Habits

musikfan6

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 16, 2012
93
1
39
Lititz, PA
Good evening folks.

I have a few questions for you all.

1. Do your hens often roost in odd places in the coop other than the actual roost? Mine are roosting on ledges in groups of three or four at different spots. I built these nice roosts and they won't even use them!

2. I have this one hen that will occasionally decide that she wants to spend the night in the tree outside the coop. Tonight I went to count all my ladies and sure enough my one RIR is missing. I've got a row of very tall pine trees and I found her up in a branch one time a month ago. Tonight I've looked everywhere and I can't locate her. I suspect that she's probably in a tree. How high will they go in a tree to roost? Is it not good to allow them to roost in tree branches at night? I always thought that it wasn't "safe" for them to be outside of the coop at night.

Thanks for any input, folks!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
118,927
339,522
1,977
New Jersey
I have had them roost 40' up in pine trees. It is generally unsafe to allow them to do so. GHO are ferocious night time predators.


Visited Lititz this spring. There is an awesome cupcake shop in town.
droolin.gif
 
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musikfan6

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 16, 2012
93
1
39
Lititz, PA
I have had them roost 40' up in pine trees. It is generally unsafe to allow them to do so. GHO are ferocious night time predators.


Visited Lititz this spring. There is an awesome cupcake shop in town.
droolin.gif

Well, I looked and looked in those pine trees and I couldn't find her. Maybe she was up pretty high. Of course this morning, I go out to the coop to feed them, and who is standing beside the coop but my lost hen. She comes running over to me and I picked her up and you could tell she was out of sorts- it was kind of funny. So I put her back in the coop and she seemed happy with that.

I have a feeling that we probably have some GHO's around. I hear them at night and in the morning. We live on Owl Hill Road, and they don' call it that name for nothing! I've found that if I get out to the coop right when it's starting to get dark, they are usually all present and counted for. It's on the nights when we are away and I don't get home until after dark that this one hen always makes her way to the pine trees. But I shouldn't have to look after them to make sure that they go to the coop, should I? I thought they'd all follow the leader inside each night.

Glad you were able to make it to Lititz. Yes, the cupcake place is fairly new. We actually have two of them now. They are good, but I don't think they are worth the price you pay for them. My wife makes cupcakes that beat their's hands down. (But they still taste good.)

Thanks for the input.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
When I want to determine where a rouge female bird is roosting I go out just before sun-up and listen and watch. My birds always make fairly long flights when coming off roost. Such flights are usually about 50' horizontal and they do make a little racket while doing it.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,251
20,018
907
Southeast Louisiana
Chickens generally like to roost on the highest location available. Are your roosts higher than the ledges they are roosting on? You may need to raise your roosts.

I have had times that chickens were pretty cruel on the roosts to others lower in the pecking order. This does not happen each and every time, but when it does it is usually hens lower in the pecking order being really cruel to immature chickens. Those young chickens will sometimes leave the roosts to find safer places to roost. Usually for me that is on top of the nest boxes, but I have had chicks fully integrated and trained to sleep on the roosts by their broody mother totally leave the coop and start to roost outside when their mother weaned them and left them on their own because other hens were so cruel on the roosts.

I don’t know what your roosts and coop look like, but my guess is that it might involve one of these two things.

Just because something can happen does not mean it absolutely will each and every time. Chickens are safer in a secure coop at night. There is no doubt about that. Owls, raccoons, bobcats, many different things can take a chicken at night in a tree. But many of us have seen chickens roosting in trees for years, even in pretty cold temperatures in the winter, and they were not eaten. It is possible your hen will be eaten the next time she roosts in a tree. It is possible she will die of old age roosting in a tree every night for the remainder of her life.
 

musikfan6

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 16, 2012
93
1
39
Lititz, PA
Chickens generally like to roost on the highest location available. Are your roosts higher than the ledges they are roosting on? You may need to raise your roosts.
I have had times that chickens were pretty cruel on the roosts to others lower in the pecking order. This does not happen each and every time, but when it does it is usually hens lower in the pecking order being really cruel to immature chickens. Those young chickens will sometimes leave the roosts to find safer places to roost. Usually for me that is on top of the nest boxes, but I have had chicks fully integrated and trained to sleep on the roosts by their broody mother totally leave the coop and start to roost outside when their mother weaned them and left them on their own because other hens were so cruel on the roosts.
I don’t know what your roosts and coop look like, but my guess is that it might involve one of these two things.
Just because something can happen does not mean it absolutely will each and every time. Chickens are safer in a secure coop at night. There is no doubt about that. Owls, raccoons, bobcats, many different things can take a chicken at night in a tree. But many of us have seen chickens roosting in trees for years, even in pretty cold temperatures in the winter, and they were not eaten. It is possible your hen will be eaten the next time she roosts in a tree. It is possible she will die of old age roosting in a tree every night for the remainder of her life.
Yes, I agree with you. They need to be in the coop at night. It's just that this one hen decides to be stubborn at times. My roosts in my coop are at two heights- one at about 4.5 feet and the other one at about 5.5 feet. I suppose they are not high enough.
 

SaraBT

Hatching
7 Years
Jun 7, 2012
4
0
6
Hi! I stumbled upon this forum while searching for an answer to a hen who won't go into the coop -- so I joined.

I have three silkies (one roo and two hens) who share a coop with a variety of other hens and, unfortunately, two other roos and two male guinea fowl. Everyone has been together for at least two years. Suddenly my white bantam hen wants to sleep outdoors, and I have to put her into the coop most nights. I don't think she's being picked on, and I've even locked the three silkies in their own "room" in the coop.

What's really cute is that the other evening I couldn't find her at all, and her very friendly black "sister" kept running to me as if she wanted to tell me something. At one point she ran to the deck steps and stayed there. Sure enough, the white one was tucked all the way under the lowest step!

I can't figure out why the white hen has stopped wanting to go in at night...very strange. And yes, the bantam roo, along with another, used to sleep in our trees every night for years. One time we had an ice storm and both roos were completely covered with ice in the morning. That was a trip -- wrapping them in towels and warming them up. They did decide to go into the coop after that.
 

toritori

Chirping
9 Years
May 2, 2011
43
1
94
Saranac Inn, NY
Has anything changed in your coop that might make them want to go out? I can't say much. We have 5 Silkie (2 roos and 3 hens) that snuggle in a pile. You can tell how cold the coop is by the size of the pile. Large stretched out pile?....then it is pretty warm. -20F?....All 5 are in a pile that would fit in one square foot!
 

SaraBT

Hatching
7 Years
Jun 7, 2012
4
0
6
Hi, Tori - nothing has changed at all -- that's what's so odd. And our silkies pile up togehter, too :) It's just that white one who suddenly decided she doesn't want to go in at night. It's fine as long as I can find her at dusk, but as someone before me mentioned, if we go out at night she's on her own.
 

MANNA-PRO

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