Peaking order and roosting during cold nights

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Katieswan, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. Katieswan

    Katieswan In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    Hi Folks, I have just gotten a flock of hens that have been divided out of a bigger flock. I have seven total. It has been a week that we have had them and I see that they are establishing a peaking order. I live in Minnesota and am thinking about cold nights to come and am wondering about how the peaking order effects roosting. I have two or three birds that always roost on the window sill and the other four or five are on the roost. I have multiple bars at different heights that the 4 or 5 birds roost on. I am mostly wondering if the ones that roost on the window sill will roost (or be allowed to roost) with the others when the nights get colder. I cannot tell who is who at night really and I am not sure where the ones on the window sill are on the peaking order. Also, I am wondering if I should make a proper roost bar in front of the window or not. I would rather they joined the others on the roost. There is plenty of room. Any experience or advice would be helpful. Thanks!
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have found, that if they do not like each other, they will not roost together, no matter how cold it gets.

    Luckily, you have two groups, so YEAH! each group will snuggle together, there will be no chicken, all alone, freezing in a corner. This is good!

    So.... You will just have to make sure, that both of your groups have propper roosting spots. You need to make sure that they have WIDE perches. That is so important, I just can not emphasize that enough. If the perch isn't wide enough your chickens will get frostbite on their toes...that is NASTY, so lets skip that. :D Wide perches is close to 4 inches of flat perch. So, a 2x4 is great. The wide side of a 2x4 is I think actually 3.5 inches...but that is perfect for standard sized chicken feet.

    I have found that FLAT feet, while sleeping, means better circulation, so no frostbite.

    OK.... your window sleepers.

    Do you have enough venting in your coop? Is there any frost or moisture on the window?

    If you have lots of venting, and no moisture or frost on the window, then I would let the window group keep sleeping there, just make sure that whatever they are perching on is AT LEAST 3.5 inches wide. If they are perching on something skinnier, then figure out how to force them to perch on something wider.
  3. evemfoster

    evemfoster Songster

    May 6, 2014
    NE, Wa.
    I have found that the chickens will move to a warmer spot if it gets too cold. Even if its only to make a hole in the litter and snuggle down where it is warmer. The window seal was probably the most preferred perch. Nice and wide with plenty of air. I'd bet that the chickens that perch there are the top hens and they won't have any trouble finding a new spot. Do listen Alaskan to and make sure the perches are good and wide its very good advice.
  4. Katieswan

    Katieswan In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    Thanks for the tips. I do have wide roosts and the window group has move from the window. I now have 4 that roost on the highest roost, two on the second one down and one lower. Sometimes it is different though and there are three and three and one. I cannot tell if it is the same one that usually alone. I did have one that was roosting high in a unintentional roost spot but I covered it up. I wondering if this was the loner, but I would be surprised that she was a load to be higher than the others. There is not one bird that is obviously the lowest on the pecking order. There are defiantly a couple though. I wish I could know if that one is choosing to roost a lot (if it is even the same one) or if they are not allowing it to roost next to them. It is starting to get cold and I worry about them. Not sure if there is much I can do though.

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