Silkies can't or won't roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jodief100, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. jodief100

    jodief100 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2010
    N Kentucky/Cincinnati
    I have lots of experience with chickens but only production breeds. I have never had “decorative breeds” before so I know nothing about these SIlkies I bought. They have me confused. I put them in a dog crate to keep them isolated for awhile. At the back of the crate I put a roost about 22” off the floor and a dropping board under it at about 16” off the floor. I put a plastic pan under the board to use as a nest.

    They won’t use the roost. Are they not able to get that high or do they not want to use it? I even put them up there and they stayed for awhile and then hopped down after about 15 minutes.

    Should I make a ladder?

    Here is a picture, you can see the board and a little bit of the roost above them.


    Oh, and how do I tell the roos from the hens? Without combs and wattles I am lost here.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My silkies do roost (it's appx. 18-20 inches high, and does have a ramp going up to it in case it's needed). I've had mine since chickhood, so that's what they learned (had them in with a d'uccle, which roosted). If your birds are fairly new, that might be part of the problem. Or if you got your birds later, and they were already use to piling, then roosts will be totally new to them. I don't like the piling, because they're sleeping on poo.
    Silkies are hard to sex. In general, thicker legs, streamers, body carriage can give you an indication of male vs. female. Why don't you post pics of each bird in the "Breed/Gender" section so people might be able to help you.
  3. TinyChickenLady

    TinyChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine aren't big fans of roosting but they're learning. Right now they pile on top of their feed can (approx. 24" high). And sexing is very hard with these guys. I've always been told to wait for crowing to find out who is who.
  4. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL

    Our Silkie rooster is on the top right of the photo, surrounded by his children. His sister, who still has her pompom fluff, does not go there.

    We think that visual ability has a lot to do with it. There was a while after our rooster lost part of his scalp in a fight that he was a "new man" and thoroughly enjoyed seeing things clearly, including the steps up to the roosting bars and the roosts, too. It was during that time that he became very friendly with us, too, making lots of eye contact and learning many new words.

    Now that much of his pompom fluff has returned, he knows the way and slowly feels his way up onto the roost bars.

    I've seen barrettes on Silkies, much like shi-tzu's and yorkie pups, to keep the fluff out of their eyes. True that Silkies are heavier birds than the other chickens, but I think its visual ability that keeps them from roosting, not the inability to fly, because when they can see they do little flights and they have normal strength in hopping up just like any other chicken.

    Mr. Woof with his sister Chloe:
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    My silkie roo doesn't roost, but my hen does. She is only 4 months old or so. She gets up with the rest of the standard hens. My roo is a year old and won't roost. I'm going to add a shorter roost.. maybe a ramp. If my polish can do it, he should be able to [​IMG]
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Silkies can have a low roost. They prefer a lot of times to huddle in the shavings on the floor.

    They really can't fly and so must jump up or walk up a ramp. Make sure the roost isn't high enough that they won't be injured by falling. They make a sickening thud sound [​IMG] when they fall from 4 feet up. (I changed the roost after that.)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by