Solution to bickering at roosting time

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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Things were getting progressively more chaotic in the coop where my five one-year-old Welsummers roost. No one wanted to roost peacefully with her mates, everyone had an issue with roosting next to every other one. No one could get along no matter who she was roosting next to. Every night, one or two would get knocked off the perch and end up sleeping on the floor or a nest box.

I decided something had to be done, so this is my solution. I rigged up divider curtains that are stapled to the ceiling over the perch and block just one side of the perch so each hen isn't able to see her perch mates. These chickens always face one direction, so the curtains only needed to hang on one side of the perch, which is fortunate because wider curtains would make it more difficult for them to hop up onto the perch since they need "elbow" room to flap their wings for stability. It worked! Tonight all was peaceful and there was no fighting and pushing anyone off the perch.
 
I can see why they were battling, that roost is just barely long enough for all of them.
I've observed that they can fit into much less roost length than they need to get settled...but the extra shuffling space does indeed help.

That's an interesting solution, I hope it continues to work, like blinders on a horse.
What is the curtain material, feed bags?

Did the curtains upset them at first?
Would you post a pic without the chooks on the roost?
 
The curtains are naugahyde, but feed sacks would work just as well. Notice I spliced the pieces to get the length I needed. A sewing machine comes in darned handy when you're managing chickens.

The perch is fifty inches long. If you look at the left, you'll see the end of another perch. Four Sussex, real bad@#$%^, roost there. The coop is partitioned with deer netting to keep the Sussex from having their way with the young Welsummers. Originally the coop was built to house two roosters that insisted on trying to kill each other.

I could try to extend the perch for the Welsummers, but all I'd get would be an additional five inches at best, and I doubt it would make any real difference.
 
Oh cool, yes I did notice the seams, sewing machine is an awesome tool for many applications.
Thanks for the pic, I can see now how they can only really jump up one way.
Keep us posted...so funny seeing them in their 'stalls'.
 
My five hens have a 6-foot roosting bar which is quite spacious. Yet there is still alot of squabbling and bickering at bed time. Sometime I'll see one who absolutely must get to a new position on the bar and simply plows her way through the others to get to it. It's all over within 15 minutes at most and then they're settled down. I figure it's just part of the routine, as long as no blood is spilled.
 
Day two. All but one of the Welsummers made it onto the perch in their "slot" of choice. The empty slot was in the exact middle, but Maude simply lack the self confidence to do it. I'll have to work with her and see if I can get her to overcome her fear.

At least there was no bickering at all!
 

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