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Teach them to roost or will they figure it out?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cupman, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I'm a bad father. I bought birds before I had a coop and long story short they lived in my garage until they were almost 10 weeks old. Well, they are outside now in the coop I finally finished and they've been there for 3 nights. I have 3 cascading roosts that are 10 feet wide and I was really hoping they'd hop up there to sleep. They have always slept in their brooder box on the ground, I never put a practice roost in for them. My adult flock live in a separate coop, I haven't tried to integrate them yet. They seem to roost but I put them in their coop at 6 weeks old.

    Is there anything I can do to inspire them to roost or do I just have to let them teach themselves?


  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Some folks put their chicks on the roosts every night until they get it. I do not.

    They will get it, eventually. Honest.

    Mine usually "got it" by the time they were 12 weeks old, some a few weeks younger and some a few weeks older. Think about it: perching on a roost whilst awake is practice. They need to practice and gain confidence to be able to roost while they are ASLEEP.
  3. katschicks11

    katschicks11 In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2011
    Edwardsville, IL
    When I got my pullets they was 5 month old, it took them 3 weeks to the day to start to use the roost. I tried one night (1 hr after dark) to put them on the roost, they jumped down about as fast as I put them up. Then I just gave up and waited to see, and they figured it out.
  4. Chickens are creatures of habit. They are used to sleeping on the ground and they will continue, for a while. One day, one of them will try the roost and then all of them will catch on. Let them be chickens and don`t stress yourself about it. They will roost when it finally pierces their bird brain. Merry Christmas.......Pop
  5. bantambonanza

    bantambonanza In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2011
    I was a bad chicken parent, too! I got my two Silkie boys before I had a coop, and they lived in my shed with some moveable netting to give them outdoor space. I had to get them fast because they were going to be euthanised if I didn't pick them up ASAP, so I think they've forgiven me! [​IMG]

    What I found is that, well first of all being Silkies they don't often roost like other breeds, but once I got the hens for them (after I got a proper coop this time!) they started to mimic what the girls did! Loads of things they wouldn't do when it was just the two of them, like eat out of my hand, they started to do once the girls showed them it was "ok"! Funny things, chickens!
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I put mine on the roost. They learn the lesson young and it sticks with them for life.

    I had a group of hens that never learned to roost, consequently they always had messy bottoms from nesting in their own waste and messy heads from nesting under the roosting bars where other hens roosted. Disgusting. Of that group of birds I still have one. She is nearly 5 y.o. at this point and has just recently started roosting because the new roo convinced her to give it a try. She seems quite nervous about the whole thing, but has been roosting for a couple weeks now.

    So, I guess they will eventually get the idea as everyone has said, but 5 years is a long time to wait for it to sink in. I think I will keep putting newbies on the roost at night.

    Good luck.
  7. LoreenH

    LoreenH Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    I had a practice roost in the brooder and then in the pen in the garage, sometimes they would use them but in the mornings they'd all be huddled in a pile on the floor. In June, when I moved them outside to the coop, I put them on the roost every evening (luckily I have only 6 girls) but in the morning, again, they'd be in a huddle on the floor. I finally gave up putting them on the roost after several nights. It took them at least a month before they started using the roost, they use it every night now.

  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    All of mine had practice perches in the brooder, and so went straight to roosting on their own when they went to the coop EXCEPT my bantams (silkies and d'uccle). I placed them up there each night for a week or so because I use a dropping board, and I use it for a reason - to keep the bedding clean. I wanted their feathered hineys above that dropping board. The d'uccle learned quickly and the silkies followed a few nights later.

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