Problems with Roosting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Leigti, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. Leigti

    Leigti Songster

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    I have 11 chickens, ranging from eight months old to 3 1/2 years old. A bunch of different breeds. They have 12 feet of roost space total. And this has been plenty with no issues until the last month or so. Usually they would have the little mini squabbles and discussion over who sleeps where but then they would all settle down peacefully. But lately the squabbles are downright nasty, and two or three chickens and sometimes more and up sleeping in the nesting boxes. A few of them are molting, could this be the reason that they are so grumpy? It’s going to start getting pretty cold here at night and I would feel much better if they were all huddled together as usual. And I want them out of the nesting boxes! Will this behavior go away when they’re done mulching? Any suggestions?
    chickens really likes this.
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    The grumpiness is probably due to moulting, yes, and they'll eventually get over it, but your hens could train themselves to "perch" in the nesting boxes in the meantime.

    Can you fit a second perch?
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Have you ever hung out at roosting time and watched your flock getting themselves settled on the perch? It's a real education. If nothing else, it will change your mind about the old "one-foot-of-perch-space-per-chicken" rule.

    One foot is plenty once they're all up and settled, but when they try to fly up and try to land in a foot of vacant space between two other chickens, the flapping wings are likely to take out the chickens on either side. Yikes! No wonder they get cranky and nasty at roosting time. And yeah, molt makes 'em even crankier.

    Once I saw what was happening in my coop, I got some tree branches and some blocks of wood and made a couple of low portable perches. This increased the roosting space considerably without occupying all that much more actual space. And the heavy breeds absolutely adore the low perches.
  4. Leigti

    Leigti Songster

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    I have thought about putting one more perch up. It would be 4 feet long and in a different spot than the others. Don’t know if I’ll get it done by this winter though. Maybe I will try the temporary set up for now there is still plenty of space left over after they all get up there and get settled. But I have a couple cranky ones that won’t let the others up there.
  5. TexasSam

    TexasSam Free Ranging

    Jul 27, 2017
    Weatherford Texas
    I have several perches all leading to the prime roosting spot at the top so it can be reached from any angle.
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    It's molting...They get grumpy..Just do what works for your Hens...I have two that refuse to go through the nightly bickering...One sleeps in a nest box and the other on a little roost I made for Chicks out of 2x4 and tree stumps...I don't mind where they sleep..
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Increased squabbles may be due to molt, but may also be due to the fact that you have some pullets who are maturing, and therefore wanting to establish themselves higher in the pecking order.

    Yep, roost time is squabble time.

    When my summer numbers were high, I installed more roost space. The girls had 20 l.f. of perch, and all were fighting to get on the top 10' perch. The bottom perch was empty every night, while they squished and packed themselves onto the top perch. When one more gal tried to squish herself onto the perch, she'd knock two others down, and this would continue, with a lot of screaming and name calling going on every evening. So, I made a (2) perch rack that bolted onto the studs, perpindicular to the existing perches. I made it the same height as the top perch. This gave them an other 8' of "top rack" status perch, and eliminated a lot of the fussing. If my numbers warrant it, I can remove a couple of screws or bolts, and collapse it down flat against the wall.
    TexasSam, aart and azygous like this.
  8. Leigti

    Leigti Songster

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    All my roosts are at the same height.
    TexasSam likes this.

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