What age do they start sleeping on roosts?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by OkieKristi, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. OkieKristi

    OkieKristi Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    N.E. Oklahoma
    I am new to chickens, so this may seem like a silly concern. I have four sex link pullets and one EE cockerel which are all around 15 wks old. Since I brought them home a couple of weeks ago, they all sleep in a pile in the corner of the coop. My DH built really nice nest boxes and 2x4 roosts, with nice little ladders up to both, but they seem terrified to be off of the ground.

    I brought home two 6 mo old EE pullets this morning (one of whom promptly flew over the 6' fence and was eaten by my dog). I thought that being older, these birds would definitely make use of the roosts/nests. This evening DH and I clipped the wings of the remaining EE pullet and my EE cockerel, and I put the pullet on the platform by the nests, and she immediately hopped down. When I went back out to close up the coop just before dark, all birds, including the EE pullet, are in their little pile in the corner.

    I guess I am concerned for two reasons. The first being that the floor doesn't seem like it would be the warmest spot to sleep, although I have added some extra shavings in their corner. My other concern is that I am hoping to get eggs in the next month or so, and if they won't get off the floor to sleep, what are the chances that they are going to lay eggs in my nest boxes?

    So, is this normal behavior for chickens of this age? Will they start roosting at some point on their own, or is there something I should do to encourage it?
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    They should be roosting by now. . .

    I've heard of this issue before, and usually I would say the best thing to do is get them used to the perches by putting them up on them at day time, then work at it even into the evening. Sleeping on the floor isn't healthy or safe for them. Other than that, I'm not sure what to say, as I've never had the issue before.

    As for laying in the nesting boxes - Shouldn't be a problem. They may possibly lay eggs on the floor at first, but that's just them trying to get a hang of their cycle. It may take them a while.
  3. OkieKristi

    OkieKristi Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 24, 2010
    N.E. Oklahoma
    Thanks! I guess I will have to start working on getting them used to the roosts. I just though they would start doing it on their own at some age.
  4. Zanna

    Zanna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 14, 2010
    Jefferson, Oregon
    After about 5 nights after dark of putting my 8 youngsters on the roost and them jumping off again several times and returning to their pile, they got the hang of it, stayed put for the night and now roost on their own. Keep at it, they will get the hang of it [​IMG]
  5. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    Mine started roosting for extended naps by their third week. By their sixth week, several have been roosting through the night; though, several still prefer squatting and huddling on the heated pavers [​IMG]

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