Roosting on top of coop in cold weather?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by roberttd, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. roberttd

    roberttd New Egg

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    May 15, 2016
    Hello,

    Our 4 chickens have a coop situated inside a very secure run -- more secure than the coop itself. Therefore, we lock the run at night and leave the coop door open.

    For a while, they would sleep inside the coop at night, but lately they've taken to roosting on the roof of the coop rather than going inside. Other than pooping all over the roof of the coop, this hasn't presented any problems.

    Now that it's getting cold, will they be smart enough to go inside to sleep, or do we need to nudge them in that direction? We live in Tennessee, where low temperatures in the winter are frequently in the 30s and 20s, with the occasional dip into the teens or single digits. There's not a lot of snow, and we plan to cover the top of the run with plastic sheeting to keep out the rain and snow.

    Thanks!

    Robert
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    It could help to post some photos of your coop. Smaller coops can be crowded and stuffy, so a bit more information about your set up can help determine why they aren't using it. They also like to seek out the highest point to roost so that's another possibility.
     
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy roberttd … Welcome to BYC, nice to meet you.

    I agree with oldhenlikesdogs in that some pictures of your set up may help with some ideas for deterring the roof roosting. For example, depending on the set up, the coop could be raised or run roof lowered etc to deter this behaviour.

    As to “will they be smart enough to go inside and sleep” you would hope so but I wouldn’t bank on it [​IMG]

    I have some chickens who walk through the full sized run door and jump up and down at the wire on the other side trying to get to hubby who they have spotted doling out meal worms .. totally oblivious to the fact that they could just turn around and walk out the run door they just walked through [​IMG]

    Anyways, not saying this is the case for yourself but another reason for chickens no longer wanting to roost in the coop is mites. Red mites live in the cracks of the coops and come out at night to feed off and crawl on the chickens making them reluctant to roost there.
     
  4. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm also in TN with a coop with 4 chickens in a secure run, and they sleep on top of their coop. They know how to get in the coop, because they still go inside to lay in the nest box, but prefer to be 6' high on top of it rather than sleep inside it. Since it's still in the 50s at night and with record high daytime temps right now, I'm not worried.

    I've got a screen door on the front for the time being with a solid door that goes on top of it when it gets cold, so once it gets freezing and I put that door on, I may lock them inside a few nights to try to encourage them to stay inside. But for now they seem comfortable so I don't care. Other than the poop all over the roof, that is. :)
     
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  5. chickchickmomma

    chickchickmomma New Egg

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    Nov 16, 2016
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    My flock is the same. They prefer to roost above their coop on a roosting pole. They have a nice roomy coop and do go in at times but always sleep up high. I am in Northern California though and the lows rarely dip below freezing. From what I hear chickens are quite hearty and can with stand low temperatures.
     
  6. leahdenver

    leahdenver Just Hatched

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    Nov 17, 2016
    I have he same issue. Four of my five sleep in top of the coop and one Lone Ranger sleeps inside the coop. Tonight it's 30 degrees and I worry about the four on top. I actually took them off the roof and put them in the coop and closed the door because the inside of the coop has a heat lamp. But when I peered in through a wire window, they couldn't settle and the Lone Ranger pecked at the others. I finally felt bad and opened the coop/put the four back on top where they roost. That was fine in warmer days but I worry about them. I don't think they roost on top of the coop due to mites because the Lone Ranger roosts there and is fine. I think she may bully the other four. What's the reason hens coop al fresco outside and on top of the coop when they have a cozy coop with a bar to roost on? I know they can get into the coop because that's where they lay in the nest boxes...

    Concerned in the cold,

    Thanks
     
  7. leahdenver

    leahdenver Just Hatched

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Do we know why this happens? 4 of my 5 do the same. I didn't mind but now it's snowing and I worry about the 4 on top of the coop. I aide they have a heat lamp. The fifth one inside pecks at the others. Is it a peck order thing?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Heat lamps are not needed.
    How big is your coop in feet by feet?
    Pics would help.
     
  9. leahdenver

    leahdenver Just Hatched

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    Nov 17, 2016
    [​IMG]
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     

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