Orpington won't roost

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mixedflocker, May 30, 2016.

  1. mixedflocker

    mixedflocker Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2016
    Hello, As my user name suggests, I have an eclectic flock of different breeds and ages. The oldest are kept separate from those that are not full grown, so the only ones sharing the big coop are between 3 and 5 months old. One group of Jubilee Orps all arrived together and ever since they came home they have stuck closely with one another. This group also includes the only cockerel in our flock. Now to the issue, they absolutely refuse to roost. Every evening they come into the coop and sleep in a big "puppy pile" in the corner. I have tried putting them each on the roost for a few nights, but it isn't making a difference. Our Buff Orpington of a similar age took to the roost immediately, though her bff is an EE who jumped up first. Will the Jubilee eventually roost? Is it detrimental to leave them sleeping on the floor?

    Additional info: Coop is 8x12 and 6 ft high. Lowest roost is only about 2ft. high, with a poop board under it that is maybe 18" from the floor. Total roost space is 16ft.for 13 large fowl, though the 9 that roost now snuggle up on one end of one roost. Orps in question are 11 weeks old.
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I'm pretty sure that they will get it eventually, and its perfectly fine for the them to stay where they are, as I'm sure the coop is predator-proof.

  3. mixedflocker

    mixedflocker Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2016

    Thank you. Yes. It is predator proof.
  4. csaylorchickens

    csaylorchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2015
    My Coop
    My 10 week olds were put in their new coop 2 weeks and i still have to go out every night anut put 3 of them back on the roost. Lol im hoping soon they get it
  5. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2016
    My 13 week old Buffs still dogpile :-/
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    They're just babies. Like toilet training a toddler, they're roost when they're ready.
  7. Okay!
    Its young and a bigger bird.
    It WILL roost once its ready!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My brooder raised chicks normally start roosting around 10 to 12 weeks of age. I’ve had some start at 5 weeks, I’ve had some go longer, but 10 to 12 weeks is a good average. This is where there are no older birds in with them. I’ll get to that. I’ve had broody hens take their chicks to the roosts as early as two weeks, but 4 to 5 is more normal for them. So your 11 week olds are acting a lot like mine often do. Perfectly normal.

    There is no real problem with them sleeping on the floor. Silkies can’t fly so some never roost. It doesn’t hurt them at all.

    Immature chickens rank lower in the pecking order than more mature chickens. You mentioned that the chicks in question are between 3 and 5 months old. That means these Jubilee Orpington are the youngest. They still hang out together instead of mixing with the other chicks. I think they are likely afraid of the others and are avoiding them. I see that all the time with mine though I have adults as well as younger chicks. The juveniles are afraid of the adults so they won’t roost with them. I put in a special “juvenile” roost, higher than the nests but lower than the main roosts and horizontally separated so the juveniles have a safe place to go that is not my nests. Right now I have 13-week-olds using the juvenile roost, adults on the main roosts, and 5-week-olds sleeping on the floor. The 13 week olds avoid the adults. The 5 week olds avoid all the older birds. I’ve had pullets use that juvenile roost until they are mature enough to force their way into the main flock, usually about the time they start to lay but sometimes a month or two later. There is no set schedule for any of this, as Donrae said, they do it when they are ready.

    It sounds like you have roosts at various heights. Don’t be surprised if these Jubilee Orps continue to maintain a separate sub-flock for quite a while, hanging together during the day and sleeping separately at night until they mature enough to fully merge with the older birds. Until then they will probably avoid the older more mature birds. What you describe sounds perfectly normal to me. As long as they have enough room to avoid the older ones, and the even younger ones you have also have sufficient room to avoid, you will probably have no real problems. Mixed age flocks sort this stuff out over time.

    Good luck!

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