Roosting - am I doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mcjessen, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    No, no, I'm not roosting. My girls are.

    I have two buff orpingtons and a black australorp. All are roughly 16 weeks old and have not had a roost available to them inside their coop until I added their nest boxes, a ladder and roost this past weekend. Last night, in order to teach them that they are supposed to roost at night and not sleep on the floor huddled together, I put one BO on the roost. I checked on her a bit later and she was still up there. (The roost is roughly a foot off the floor.) This morning I noticed that two girls were out in the run instead of three so I went to check. The BO I put up on the roost last night was still up there. I think she was stuck and couldn't figure out how to get down.

    I think there may be a couple reasons but I needed everyone's advice.

    1. I picked the chicken who is low girl on the totem pole. She's not to bright and at the bottom of the pecking order.
    2. They may not be used to the roost and don't know what to do?
    3. The roost may be too high for them to jump off.
    4. There many not be enough room for a landing. (18-20 inches between the roost and the coop wall & I got they're food hanging there as well.)
    5. It's only the first night. Should I keep doing that (with the top girl) and hope the others follow suit?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    BTW, they do roost on a 2x4 that's about 4 inches of the ground in the run.
  2. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    I wouldn't worry about it too much....they will figure it out. Mine are 15 wks, half use the roost at night and half don't, but then i don't have enough roost space, building a new coop with plenty of roost room. My current roost is about 18" high and not much landing room but they use the latter to get up and just jump down. since it's a tractor the floor is elevated so when they hit the floor I can hear it from my shop about 50 feet away. Gotta get the new coop finished soon as they are really getting big.
    They were raising heck yesterday, I saw them running to the far end of the tractor. I check and found a 3' snake(black snake) in their run.....scared them to death. I chased him off and some watermelon calmed them down.
  3. americanamama

    americanamama Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    I wouldnt worry about it. I have game hens that like to roost on a platform. Some of my flock roost on the ladder and some sleep on the nesting boxes. What ever makes them happy. [​IMG]
  4. whiteshepherdlady

    whiteshepherdlady Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 18, 2011
    Hmmm ... I am NEW to having chickens ... it is 1 week now they arrived here with us. My question is I heard they like to roost so I put up a 3-4 inch round tree branch kiddie corner in the coop ... thing is , NONE are using it !! It's about 3 ft high ; Is that TOO HIGH for them ? Should I get them a type of ladder in the form of another tree stump to get up onto the roosting area ?

  5. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    Quote:Three feet is too high unless you have a ladder leading up to the roost. How old are your birds? also, if you are in a cold climate, a 2X4 laid flat will help prevent frostbite on their toes as they are forced to sit on their feet when they roost. My roost is 16" from the floor (I have a 4X6 coop that is built off the ground on 30"high legs). The girls figured it out their second night in the coop. I also blocked off my nesting boxes (they are actually externally mounted so they don't take up any floor space). This kept them from roosting in the boxes. When they got close to laying, i opened access to them and threw a few golf balls in. It worked great!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    OP, those are pretty heavy breeds and can injure themselves jumping down from a higher roost. I have australorps who use a 2x4 roost about 30" off the ground, but they have about 6' or 8' to fly down, and they use the space. It's natural for them to fly up or down, so the problem may be the 18" clearance. Or, if the roost is only a foot or so off the ground, it may just be that they don't like new things. I suspect you're right about your one girl not being sure how to get down. Bottom line, I wouldn't worry a lot about it as long as they don't sleep in the nest boxes.

    Many people just put their birds on the roost every night for a few days or a week, and they learn to go on their own in time. Or at least they make up their mind where they want to sleep in time. I've had them sleeping on top of doors and walls, on a shelf, etc. Never had any of them try to sleep in the nests after laying age, except broodies, of course, so I just let them sleep where they want. The only time I interfered was when one chose a place I figured would cause injury in time.
  7. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    Thanks everybody. Because they are heavy birds, I decided not to make the roost too far off the ground. They do have a wide ladder and I saw my BA using the bottom rung (1 of 2) the other day. That's a good sign! So, all in all, I'll stick the leader of the pack on the roost tonight and see what happens. And, I'll see what I can do to give them a little more landing room. I'll stick with it. If they decide they like the floor better, so be it. [​IMG]
  8. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    We have an old shed that we have been using as a coop. We are newbies with 7 hens—4 wyandottes and 3 mixed reds. The girls were spending the night all crammed into a little plastic garden wagon on the floor, until I uncovered the 1" x 4' long metal pipes already on the walls. We had been using them as a shelf to store extra feed and wood shavings. As soon as I took the stuff off, same day I think, the girls started roosting up there at night. They sit on each other's heads and all push themselves into one corner, but they are definitely all up there together every night when we come in to close them up.

    These (I think) are heavy breeds as well, but they still manage to get up there even though the pipes are about 4-and-a-half feet off the ground. There is a 2' high wooden box at the base that they jump on, and then fly up to roost. They fly down without using the box. Unlike what I am reading here, I heard that it is good for them to get exercise jumping and flying. Is it true that they can actually get hurt doing this?

    As far as I can tell, they are all quite happy up there.

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