Roosting (or not) behavior of chicks

Ryooki

Chirping
May 27, 2020
43
25
61
Medford, Oregon
Hi all! I’m new to chicken raising. I’ve hired someone to build a coop for my backyard, but while waiting for that (which could be a few months), we decided to build a chicken run for use till it’s ready. We have 11 chicks ages 6 weeks to 3 weeks old. There are 6 mostly fully feathered chickens who are outside in the run full time as of a few days ago, and 5 younger chicks who spend the day in the run but go back into their brooder at night.

Last night we forgot to move the chicks until 11pm. It was still 70 degrees outside, but it was dark. We found all the chicks huddled together inside a box we built to hold their feeder between the feeder and the wall. The older chicks complained and rushed back to the group when we moved them to take the little chicks out. This morning at 5am, my son went to check on them and found the bigger chicks sleeping on one of the roosts that’s a few feet away from box! I was surprised because they must have moved in the dark to the roosts. It’s not totally pitch black in my backyard as we keep a few lights on for my MiL, but they are on the opposite side of the yard from the run.

I suspect that the bigger chicks were instinctively trying to keep the youngsters warm by cuddling with them and moved to a place of increased safety when they were gone. What do you think?

I’ve attached pics of the run and the feeder box.
 

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azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Colorado Rockies
While the older chicks were likely drawn to huddling with the younger ones, I doubt it was so much altruism as it was instinct for chicks to want to huddle en mass. The second part, where you suggest they were roosting in a safer spot, does sound plausible, though.
 

Ryooki

Chirping
May 27, 2020
43
25
61
Medford, Oregon
Did you re-purpose the playground? If so I love that idea!
Yes! It’s my kids’ tree fort. They hardly use it and prefer to be with us. (I hope it changes as they get a little older.) 😂 This will be our secondary run eventually once the main run / coop is up. We’re planning on putting a chunnel to connect them, which the kids are super excited about. Lol
 

Ryooki

Chirping
May 27, 2020
43
25
61
Medford, Oregon
While the older chicks were likely drawn to huddling with the younger ones, I doubt it was so much altruism as it was instinct for chicks to want to huddle en mass. The second part, where you suggest they were roosting in a safer spot, does sound plausible, though.
Ah, makes sense. Because the little chicks were on the ground and couldn’t really get on the roosts, the bigger chicks hung out with them.
 

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