perch wars


11 Years
Mar 18, 2012
Salem Oregon
Since we are still working on the coop I added a longer and higher 2x4 roost to the brooder. I just got them inside for the night and it is pretty much bedlam. The two sweet hens just got up and settled in and started trilling. The roost is 12" off the floor and over three feet long, so there is plenty of room for 6 eight week old chicks, but the two Buff Orps and the two RIR's seem to have decided that they all four want the spot right next to the back wall. I watched them for a long time and they are pretty much determined to prevail and wow are they ever noisy. Actually, I have never heard them be even close to this loud or seen them be this aggressive. And the worst thing is the two suspected roosters are literally landing on top of the other two and throwing down onto the floor. No injuries but it's disturbing to watch I turned out the light and it quieted down some.

I am chalking this up to normal chicken behavior and hopefully they will sort it out, though the rooster(s) have to go so it's probably a short term problem.
Bedtime perch wars are the norm, from what I've read, and it's always been that way here. They jostle for the "favored position." Now, I have about 18' of perches, all the same height and width, for 11 chickens (I used to have a bunch more.) I do firmly believe they should have natural dusk and dark in the coop at bedtime, in order to settle down and sleep well. The one year I added light for egg production, the light was on a timer that came on around 3 or 4 AM -- never at dusk / dark.
It's normal. It doesn't matter if they are all the same height and as perfectly alike as you can make them the birds WILL find some reason to squabble and fuss over who gets to roost where, who is next to who, how close or far apart they will be. It will be something. I once had a flock that no changes had been made to for two years, but every night it was still squabble and fuss. Finally decided it was just a normal part of chicken society.
It won't change b/c you get rid of the roos. They do this every night, boys or no.

I find it challenging some nights how much the girls argue and quibble and downright fight over who sleeps where but I have yet to find a solution. Bedtime stories do not work.
The little beasties settled in as soon as the lights went out. About the lights..I took the heat lamp out of the brooder when I installed the bigger perch and needed the light as we got them in a little later than usual yesterday.

Because the brooder is crowded I try to bring then in right at dusk and get them out into the run at dawn. It was the same ruckus tonight as last night but it it stopped as soon as the sun set.

Our son is having his Bar Mitzvah on Saturday. Its a major thing with lots of out of town guests so our usual household activities, including coop building and gardening, are on the back burner until Sunday.
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