Roost behaviour-anyone ever watched them?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by potato chip, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    So, I have 2 new young girls in with some of my other chooks. I put them up on the roost the first night, but the next night all of the girls spread out so there was no room for them (without shoving them up, and I don't think they would have liked that). Today, I installed another roost and I hung about at "bedtime" to see what happened/put the new girls up there.

    It was fascinating. The 2 little girls moved off the "main" roost. I settled them on the new one, and they were hunkered down and seemed comfortable. Then the other girls started coming in. 2 of the isa browns came in last. The little girls started getting upset when one of them came in (she might be the "boss chook"?). She wandered about a bit, eyeballed me as if she was going to "sort me out", then decided that she wanted to squeeze in between 2 of the girls. That didn't work, she just fell back down. Then she decided she'd go in between 2 other girls and they pecked at her, so she moved everybody over and knocked the girl on the end off. Then there was a bit of moving about until everyone seemed to find a spot.

    Is this jostling and "mucking about" normal? I wish I had "chook cam" to see what they're up to out there every night. It was quite a show.
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    To me there is always "drama" during roosting time. Some peck one another because they don't want to sleep next to each other, some get down, protest, reposition - like you say, it can be quite a show. My rooster has a favorite girl and she MUST be beside him, so he does some shoving/moving to make room for her LOL I have one girl that wants NO ONE beside her (even in winter), she takes a different roost by herself and protests/grumbles mightily if someone gets next to her.

    I have pullets that have recently moved into the coop as well, it's been even MORE drama, LOL. I do have a cam in my coop so I can watch some of it - it's better than regular TV:)
  3. hannahsflock

    hannahsflock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2014
    South Africa
    I've never actually watched them :confused: Would be interesting to see what goes on all night. Maybe someone could set up a camera in their coop :caf
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    After dark, they settle down and sleep. This is just the nighttime settling process.

    I do turn on my occasionally after dark to see what's going on, but they are all just snoozing:)

    Terry Golson has had cams for several years - you can watch her girls on the outside cam and inside on the barn cam - I believe she has it set up so you can see them in the process of getting ready to roost at night. Even though she doesn't blog about her flock much anymore, she has some great articles as well.
  5. andreanar

    andreanar Overrun With Chickens

    May 16, 2014
    Upstate NY
    Oh I love watching roost drama, haha. Yes, they jostle and push, that's normal. Only thing better is nest box drama, the line of girls waiting and pacing and yelling while waiting for the "good nest"! They seem to think if one of their sister girls are doing/using something, it must be the best thing and they want it too!
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes.....even after they've all lived together for months and months and with plenty of 'extra' roost length.
    I call it RoostTimeRumble.

    I used to watch often, 4 years later not so much.
    Tho it's amazing so see who ends up where when I lock up after dark.
    With this years new batch of birds those brave little buggers were up on the main roost pretty quick and some end up in between the older birds.
    K.Riggs, shaky, nenebynature and 4 others like this.
  7. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Flock Master

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    LOL it has been interesting with my new batch as well - 2 managed to get up on the main roost beside the head hen - she gave them both "H", but they managed to hang on and slept the night beside her, they didn't try the next night though:D
  8. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    We have thirteen-week-old pullets, so the old guard likes to spread out over the entire 15-foot roost and block them from coming up. So every night I go out and jostle them to the end of the roost so that the pullets can fly up and perch. I always stick next year's rooster (a little barred rock) between the big hens and them because he's got fluffy feathers and I figure he's less likely to suffer from being pecked. Besides, it's his duty as a gentleman.
  9. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Thanks for the replies. I had the idea that they'd have sorted out all their hierarchy and it'd be all orderly in there. Instead it was like a Three Stooges routine. :D I'd only every looked in on them after dark and they were all settled up there. I had no idea there'd be RoostTimeRumble :D Also I could understand a bit of a kerfuffle in a big barn with lots of birds, but I've only got a few, it's not like they have to compete for space, there's plenty of room up there (even more now, with the extra roost).

    I just feel protective of the 2 little girls. They keep separate from the "big girls". I suppose when they are fully grown, they might join in with the big girls. Participate in the Rumble.
    biophiliac, shaky, azkc and 3 others like this.
  10. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Flock Master

    Dec 17, 2016
    Dirigo! (Maine).
    Hello Everybody, what a great thread! To tell the truth... I can not stop watching my flock. I have stayed up a bit later at night to feed them and shut down the coop.

    I would love to create a actual document storing their schedules. They are very planning of birds, every afternoon they will sing the "egg song" when another flock mate lays.

    They will wait until the "egg song" is over, until the hen steps out of the nesting box. To make sure the coast is clear.

    I have actually seen my rooster sing the "egg song" to make sure no body messes with 'his' hens.

    every night they will start to coo a silent whistle, normally when you make a silent sound or something alarms them, my rooster does that too.

    They will all whistle for a LONG period of time, just to ask each other what went on outside their home.

    Then, there is cleaning time... Everyday they are all as silent as a field of hay... All you hear is the beaks rubbing against their feathers.

    My rooster alarmed me when the babies got too cold, or when a baby is born, (from a whole other flock, he hears the zip in the egg!)

    So to answer your question... I watch them a lot. My Guinea fowl is an extremely scheduled bird too!!!

    When his "wife" was still alive, everyday they would free range the barn and catch some bugs, they would wake up and fly from the rafters at the same time.

    They would forage downstairs. And then, she used to make a smooth sound, telling him, her husband, it was time to go back up stairs in the barn.

    Everyday this happened same time, he is now without his wife, but he goes down and forages.

    When his 'wife' was still alive... His brothers and him would run up and down our street, whall she laid her egg in the wood.

    They are quite amazing.

    -The Angry Hen

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