Weird roosting behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Xtina, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I have four hens and I'm noticing some odd roosting behavior out of them. They have an indoor roost (used to have an outdoor one as well, which they preferred, but I took it out last winter) that has room for at least 4 or 5 hens, but it looks like only two of them are using it: the Barred Rock, who is smashed into a corner, and the Gold-laced Wyandotte, who is the mean bird that pecks. The other two are choosing to sleep either in nesting boxes (as they are tonight), or I've come out in the morning to find them huddled together on the ramp leading to the run.

    My initial suspicion is that the Gold-laced Wyandotte is bullying the other girls, but that the Barred Rock, who is the oldest one in the group, isn't as susceptible to her bullying. What do you think? Does this theory hold water?

    Related questions: Is the fact that two hens aren't allowed on the roost an actual problem, or is that just me being a bleeding heart who worries too much about fairness? And what if I get rid of the gold-laced Wyandotte? I've been thinking I only need three chickens and I don't like her after she pecked my hand, so I've been thinking about rehoming her for a while now. I've just been too lazy to do it. If I do, is that likely to solve the problem, or will it throw the flock order into upheaval and create bigger problems?
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am partial to have all birds roost up as soon as possible to enable rapid assessment as to how they are doing when I check on them after dark. To break up territoriality on roost, change the way looks like orientation of height or both.
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Can you put up a second small roost for the other two birds? I am not overly fond of bullies either, and she may do better in another flock - maybe one with a rooster.
  4. CrzyCknLady

    CrzyCknLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    I actually am watching a hen from my friend's flock right now. She was a mean bully and needed to be in time-out. I put her in my mini coop (I built it for those times when I needed to separate a hen or if I had a broody hen). Today I let her out into the grass after being in the mini coop for 4 days. She integrated herself into my flock and seems to have a new attitude. I went in to my main coop to find her tonight since she wasn't in her own coop and I found her on the floor despite all of my hen's being up on the four roosting bars.....clearly giving her a break from her own flock pushed her down the pecking order and made her less aggressive. I'm anxious to see what happens when she gets back to her own flock this weekend.....maybe you could give your head hen a time out too and let her fall in the pecking order.....I hate to see anyone sleeping on the floor - I picked Nosey Rosey up and put her on the roosting bars because I didn't want her sleeping on the floor.....
  5. Doopy

    Doopy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    Isn't it funny how the pecking order determines the fate of some chickens? I have had the present flock for three years and just last week one of the hens has started to sleep in the nesting box. I don't want any chickens sleeping in there because they poop all night long and I don't like any more messes than necessary.

    How do you guys make a chicken stay out of the boxes? She might be chicken soup soon if she keeps it up.
  6. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2012
    My dad put a lid on the nesting boxes, which apparently makes them less comfortable to sleep in, but I've also read that the nesting boxes should be lower than the roosts because chickens like to roost up high. That certainly makes sense with my flock, since every hen who is able prefers to roost in the rafters than on the roosts themselves :p
  7. Doopy

    Doopy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2009
    Indiana, USA
    Yup, my nesting boxes are about 8" off the floor and my roosting boards are about 36" above the floor. But one hen prefers to spend the nights in the box. Dumb bird!

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