Roost squabbling-How much is normal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sassafras, May 20, 2011.

  1. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    The 12 pullets are 8 weeks and have been using the "big girl" roosts now for over a week. They seem to want to fight over the end positions. I have two roosts that are about 30" high 6' long and parallel. There is plenty of room. Some try to step over, under, on others to get where they want. Sometimes they get knocked down to the poop board a foot below. This goes on for 15 to 20 minutes or so. I have them on a red 40 watt bulb to try to wean them off the light. Is it going to get better or is this normal behavior? [​IMG]
  2. Gaelio

    Gaelio Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2010
    Merton, Wisconsin
    Interesting. I confess that after all the years I've had chickens, they have never squabbled over position on the roosts. Yours are pretty young yet, so maybe it's a matter of deciding their pecking order. In which case, they should get it figured out before long.
  3. Ms.Frizzle

    Ms.Frizzle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Maybe there is a draft that goes over the middle?
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Watch how they access roost in evening. See which positions (end or middle) filled first. Problem may be some not moving once up which prevents late comers from having easy access.
  5. hickchick55

    hickchick55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine are the same age and doing the same thing, although it isn't the end that they all want- it is the corner of the roost in my coop. There is just a lot of noise and moving around on the highest roost The bad part is that when they are all full grown, I don't think they will all fit up there. I had to get a 25 watt red bulb. I tried a regular night light the first time and they were not happy at all.
  6. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    Mine are about 12 weeks old and do the exact same thing.

    I have one 2x4 roost that extends the entire width of the coop about 4ft high and another lower one going across the side wall.

    The chickens want to bunch up at the end of the roost (closest to the door) and they'll walk over/under each other to get that prime spot.

    Sometimes they knock each other off the roost. (There is a smaller bunch at the other end of the roost, but they seem more civilized.)

    They do finally settle down.

    I've sat inside the coop and watched this go on for about 20 minutes.

    Then on the floor of the coop I have several Tidy Cat litter boxes and the "bottom dwellers" (about 10 of 'em) all seem to want to squeeze into ONE of the boxes.

    One evening during the bottom-dwellers' squabbling, I VERY GENTLY slid the "preferred" box (full of chickens) away from the wall and slid the empty one in its place.

    The ones that woke up and came out of the box couldn't figure out which box to go back to.

    I honestly cannot figure out how so many chickens can fit inside one Tidy Cat litter box!

    Chickens are just so funny to watch!!!

  7. Sassafras

    Sassafras Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2011
    The squabbling went on for about 20 minutes this evening. This was even before I turned out he light. [​IMG] There is about 1/2 of the roost space in the middle open but they all want the ends. I hope they don't get hurt but since the poop board is a foot underneath maybe that will keep any injuries from happening.[​IMG]
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:They can handle a 20 foot fall just fine at that age so long as wings can slow descent.

    An idea. Possibly they feel exposed from above. This time of year my free range birds will not roost where they can be seen from above. Consider making to so they seem to have roof just over their heads. My games at that age still try to keep heads under hen while roosting.
  9. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    Mine jostle, jump, walk over, under, around and through one another on the roosts.
    Have 11 - 9wk old Java chicks, about 1 1/2 to 2#'s each.
    I have three roost bars set up in a ladder formation - 32" wide for each roost.
    Tonight, ALL 11 were jammed onto that 32" long perch (top bar). A few nights ago, they were evenly distributed among the three roost bars.
    However, a severe thunderstorm has rolled through, so perhaps they were all trying to get away from the window (which is near the middle favored roost bar) and 'up' into safer havens? Don't know....chicken brains are hard to figure out!
    I'm hoping they'll all figure this out soon - the squabbles are LOUD!
  10. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Getting ready to put, mine in the coop, I have a black reptile bulb, well see if that makes a difference it puts out very little light.[​IMG]

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