Roosting: weird behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AuntB, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. AuntB

    AuntB Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 8, 2012
    Granite Bay, CA
    Let me preface this by saying my 6 Delaware chicks are 14 weeks old. They've been in their coop for about a month now. We finally got their run finished a week ago, and they've been enjoying having their pop hole opened every morning and spending their day in the run. We even sat by the run their first day and watched them all toddle back up the plank at sundown to go roost in their coop for the night.

    Last night I was out by their run after work, and it was going on sundown. They all started going back in their coop, so I went around to pull the pop hole cord. I've seen them before after coming in, and they would all line up nicely on the roost, but last night was different. The roost has a poop board underneath it, and the board is nestled up in a corner on one end, but free from the corner on the other end. I watched as two of the chickens were squishing themselves on the poop board between the roost bar and the wall in the corner, while the other four gathered on the roost bar right over them. It looked like they were all vying for that corner spot, but only two could fit in there. I thought that was so odd, and I stood there watching, wondering if the one in the back corner could get squished with all those hens trying to get in there with her. It was like they couldn't get comfortable, and they felt like they couldn't all squish into the corner close enough. I looked around the coop to make sure nothing was in there, but they weren't acting frightened, they were just trying to all pile into that little corner spot.

    Here's a picture of the roost/poop board. They were all trying to smash in beside the bracket. Two fit on the board between the roost and the bracket, in the corner (above the feeder). The other four were on the bracket and roost bar.

    What's up with that??? It wasn't extraordinarily cold last night, but the air was moist as we were about to get rain. Do you suppose they were just trying to get huddled to keep warm? It got down into the 50's last night.

    (PS: don't be alarmed by the little gap at the floor: that's just covering where their nest boxes are going in on the other side of the wall. That gap is no longer open to daylight since the shell for the external nest box is now built on the other side of that wall; we just need to finish compartmentalizing the boxes and then we'll cut out the hole. They will enter the nest box under the poop board.)


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  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    You are witnessing normal chicken behavior. I've raised chickens for over 40 years and chickens will want to roost next to walls and will fight over those spots.
    I think it is a deep instinctual behavior.
    If you ever have the opportunity to witness wild turkeys roosting they love to roost on the branch right next to the trunk of the tree. If you think about it, it offers the turkey a wind break in cold weather and probably more importantly only leaves one side of the turkey vulnerable to a predator attack.
    That's my theory anyway.
    I went to the coop last night right at roosting time and as usual at this time the top birds were squabbling over the spots right next to the wall.
     
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