Roosting Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by enggass, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. enggass

    enggass Songster

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    Ok, so my girls are 16 weeks this Tuesday. They still have not taken to using the Roosting Bar in the coop. I have tried putting them up there, but they insist on sleeping together in a pig-pile in the corner. I have the nest boxes blocked off right now because they were sleeping in them. I want to open them up in a couple of weeks to prepare for the egg laying to begin. I am worried that when I do, they will begin sleeping in them again. Will they ever take to roosting? Input appreciated,
    Thanks,
    Steve
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. leslierf

    leslierf Songster

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    Make sure that your roost is higher than your nest boxes. They should figure it out. Some of my younger pullets are still ground sleepers, but they are starting to investigate the roosts.
     
  3. enggass

    enggass Songster

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    Can anyone else chime in on this with their experience?
    S
     
  4. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

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    Steve - I just logged on tonight to post about the fact that my 20 week old chickens have FINALLY figured out how to use the roost bar. So, there is hope! My girls have refused to do more than sit on the roost during the day, preferring to sleep in a pile under the nest boxes every night. I tried placing them on the roosts at night but no luck, they'd just hop down. Tonight I went to close them in and all four are squished up to one side of the roost bar happy as clams. Hang in there!
     
  5. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    I've had several groups of chickens decide that they wanted to sleep in the nest boxes. Sometimes it's because they're low in the pecking order and are trying to get away from the meanies higher up. If you've ever witnessed the bullying that goes on at roosting time, you'll know what I mean. Sometimes they just prefer the nest boxes for their own chickenly reasons (who knows what goes on in their tiny little minds).

    I always try to train them to sleep on the roost. I go in at dusk and place them up on the roost as many times as necessary until they stay there. Most of them get it after about a week or so. I have three bantam Cochin Frizzles who refuse to consistenly sleep on the roost and would sleep in the nest boxes if I allowed them to, but I don't. Every night before they head into the coop for the night, I close off the nesting boxes so they can't get in and every morning I open them up again (as early as possible in case someone wants to actually lay an egg!).

    It's a pain in the neck to have to close up the nesting boxes, but it sure beats having poop on your eggs (or having to clean out dirty nest boxes first thing every morning).
     
  6. enggass

    enggass Songster

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    Thanks for the feedback. My coop is rather small to get into so it is rather difficult to put them up on the roost myself. Hopefully they will catch on on their own. Meanwhile, I guess I will continue to block the nest boxes during the day until they do.
     
  7. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Quote:You should be able to leave the nest boxes open during the day and close them only at night if sleeping in them is the problem. You don't want to create other problems for yourself later down the road when they start laying eggs everywhere EXCEPT in the nest boxes b/c the boxes were off-limits to them. They need to be able to access the nest boxes during the day to check things out before they begin laying.
     
  8. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Songster

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    To avoid this problem, I have made low perches (3' 2x2 mounted on 2X4 blocks )and placed them in the brooder once the chicks were able to climb on the feeder. Most of the chicks will use the baby perches right away, and by the time the time I put them in their home, they expect roosts for sleeping. I knew I couldn't get myself inside the sleeping coop and place them on perches so I addressed it early. I have an occasional floor sleeper every now and then. They don't sleep in the nest boxes, I had them blocked off until about 16 weeks of age and then I opened them up and placed a ceramic egg in each. Generally don't have them laying anywhere else as a rule. When I find the stash under the lawn tractor, plywood or tall grass, they loose the early morning foraging privilege. With the heat (104 today) they stay in their shaded run under the mister's spray until late evening. The heat is a killer.[​IMG]
     
  9. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    Hang in there enggass, your birds are right on the cusp of making the transition to the roost. I wouldn't worry too much about them sleeping in the nest boxes. Mine did too at first. I even tried blocking off the nest boxes and opening them in the morning. Finally, I put them on the roost by hand at dusk and it took just about three nights for them to learn. I think they were about 16-18 weeks old. After that, they never wanted to sleep in the nest boxes again; the roosts were a much cooler and pleasant place to be.
     

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